For Immediate Release
UCS Reaction to Postponement of Annual UN Climate Change Talks
Statement by Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists
WASHINGTON - The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced today that it will postpone its annual climate change talks. The meeting slated for June 2020 in Bonn, Germany, is now scheduled for October 2020, while the talks planned for November 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland—also known as COP26—have been delayed until 2021.
Below is a statement by Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Meyer has more than 30 years of experience working on international climate and energy issues and has attended all but one of the previous 25 annual climate summits.
“The international climate community recognizes the importance of tackling the global COVID-19 health crisis and the UNFCCC has made the right decision to postpone the climate talks scheduled for June and November. This is a time for all leaders to heed the advice of science professionals, and to take immediate actions to safeguard the health and economic wellbeing of their people.
“This pandemic has laid bare existing cracks in our social and economic structures, as well as underscored the ways that everyone in the world is vulnerable to large scale risks, including the mounting impacts of climate change. This public health emergency is also likely to push people already vulnerable to climate change threats into even greater danger.
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“Global warming emissions are at record levels and impacts are increasing every day. While events can be postponed, climate change won’t pause even for a pandemic of epic proportions. It’s vital that the postponement of these negotiating sessions not slow down national and international efforts to accelerate climate action and build a safer, more resilient world. This means shifting investments away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources and enhanced energy efficiency, rapidly reducing emissions to ensure we reach net zero by midcentury, and providing adequate funding to help those countries and communities already enduring devastating impacts.
“As countries work to help their economies recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, they should prioritize investments that address this and other ongoing crises. This includes the climate emergency and other environmental threats, health impacts from air and water pollution, and widening economic inequality and employment insecurity.
“The response to the COVID-19 pandemic is showing that the nations of the world can come together to tackle global challenges, and that the policy landscape can shift quickly when there is sufficient political will. This should give us hope as we move forward in the fight to tackle the global crisis of climate change.”
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The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.