A few days ago, the United Nations officially announced the postponement of the climate change conference COP 26, planned for November of this year in Glasgow. This year’s climate talks were particularly crucial as the COP 25 in Madrid didn’t make enough progress in finalizing key steps towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement and also because countries were to present their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – the efforts by each country to reduce their national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The CIDSE network understands this decision in these special circumstances, but stresses that the urgency to act for climate justice and the necessary changes in our economic system cannot be postponed. According to Josianne Gauthier, CIDSE Secretary General :
“The change of date of a climate summit is understandable, but that doesn’t mean that we are forgetting urgency and ambition to address the climate crisis. The current pandemic is showing once again that the current system is not able to tackle today’s global challenges. We were living in a state of emergency even before COVID-19 and returning to that “normal” is not an option: now policies should be put in place to rebuild societies that are able to address all these interconnected crises, economies that truly put people and planet before profit.”
Chiara Martinelli, CIDSE Senior Advisor on Climate Justice, also added that the Coronavirus crisis should be an opportunity to start a just transition and to put in place a new economic system that serves people and planet first. Such a transition should serve both to ensure a just recovery after the COVID-19 crisis and to tackle climate emergency.
According to CIDSE’s member in England and Wales, CAFOD, postponing COP should not postpone climate action. Neil Thorns, Director of Advocacy at CAFOD said:
“We need to use the additional time to ensure the COP is a forum for making decisions which will rebuild our economies in a way that protects the world’s poorest people. Governments have pledged extraordinary amounts of money to prevent economic disasters from this pandemic, but that money must not be used to finance future environmental destruction.”
FOCSIV, the Italian member of CIDSE, stresses how the COVID-19 crisis has also flagged the alarming state of ecosystems destructions and the postponement has to therefore happen with an increased awareness of the urgency to change our lifestyles and our system which is leading to destruction of the environment and of humanity.
From Scotland, our member SCIAF reminds us that while the COP was necessarily postponed, the countries most vulnerable to climate change are experiencing more and more droughts, floods and natural disasters with devastating results. They would therefore wish to see COP 26 re-arranged to take place as soon as it is possible and safe.
CIDSE and its members continue their commitment for climate justice this year especially working along with communities who are heavily affected by climate change and where the impacts of Coronavirus arrive as additional crises. We are also preparing for the five years’ celebrations of the encyclical Laudato Si’ that has paved the way for bolder climate action and is a useful reminder that we are all interdependent and interconnected and we all need each other in solidarity to go through times of crisis.
Photo: COP21 protests – Creative Commons – The Noxid