Countdown to Cop26 begins – Climate Weekly

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Head of UN Climate Change Patricia Espinosa adresses volunteers at the last UN climate talks in Madrid in December (Photo: UN Climate Change/Flickr)


The next UN climate summit has been postponed by a full year, in light of the chaos and uncertainty wrought by coronavirus.

It gives the UK host 18 months to drum up ambition, break a deadlock in carbon market negotiations and figure out how to corona-proof an international gathering with thousands of delegates.

Former Cop26 president Claire O’Neill did not have high hopes, tweeting that this UK government “could not deliver a pizza, let alone Cop26”.

Ok, so she has personal beef, having been fired by Dominic Cummings, the UK top adviser at the centre of a media storm for breaking lockdown rules. Still, with an insight into the inner workings of Whitehall and a passion for the climate cause, O’Neill is not a critic to lightly dismiss.

Alok Sharma, feel free to prove her wrong.

This week’s stories…

…and climate conversations

‘Do no harm’

A €750 billion fund to revive the EU economy from its coronavirus-induced slump will come with green conditions, Frédéric Simon writes for our partner site Euractiv.

Spending will be guided by criteria that rule out environmentally damaging investments, while a quarter of the budget is earmarked for climate projects.

Moving the goalposts

Chloé Farand kept up her scrutiny of lobbying by the aviation industry to rewrite the rules of the sector’s climate deal.

The airlines want to change the baseline of an agreed carbon offsetting scheme, in light of the drastic drop in air traffic caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

Sounds like a technical detail? Analysts reckon the proposal would give airlines a five-year holiday from paying for their pollution.

Read more on: Climate politics | COP26