The British Government is coming under increasing pressure over its hosting of the COP26 climate conference, held in Scotland this November.
The upcoming climate talks are seen as the most important since the 2015 Paris talks, which heralded the landmark Paris Agreement.
Yesterday, the Climate Action Network called on the UK Government to postpone the conference due to the fact that “huge numbers” of people from the Global South, often those most impacted by climate change, will be “locked out” due to vaccine inequity as well as unaffordable accommodation.
In a statement, CAN said: “With just two months to go, time has run out for the UK’s vision for a ‘normal and inclusive’ UNFCCC COP26.”
CAN added: “It is evident that a safe, inclusive and just global climate conference in early November will be impossible given the failure to support the access to vaccines to millions of people in poor countries, the rising costs of travel and accommodation, including for quarantine in and outside of the UK and the uncertainty in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Our concern is that those countries most deeply affected by the climate crisis and those countries suffering from the lack of support by rich nations in providing vaccines will be left out of the talks and conspicuous in their absence at COP26” said Tasneem Essop, the Executive Director for CAN.
The figures back up CAN’s concerns: Today, 57% of Europe is fully vaccinated while just about 3% of Africa is. This will not be an equitable summit.
And today broke further news that yet again undermines the UK’s commitment to climate change — with just weeks to go until the start of COP 26.
According to an investigation by SKY News, British Ministers “agreed to bow to pressure from Australia to drop binding commitments to the Paris climate change agreement” from the proposed UK-Australian trade deal.
A leaked government email obtained by Sky revealed that Liz Truss, the British Trade Secretary and Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, decided the government could “drop both of the climate asks” from the text of the trade deal.
According to Sky, among the areas to be removed was “a reference to Paris Agreement temperature goals”.
It is hardly surprising the Australians have asked for this, led by a climate-hostile denier Government, headed by Scott Morrison.
Environmental groups and opposition MPs were obviously outraged:
Exec director of Greenpeace UK @johnsauven tells @SamCoatesSky this revelation is “truly shocking” and “seismic” in terms of the impact it will have. He says the PM made specific commitments on this to envt groups last month which he now calls a “barefaced lie” 2/3
— Mollie Malone (@Mollie_Malone1) September 8, 2021
Another broken Tory promise – Govt pledges to embed environment in trade deals yet removes climate from deal with Australia
This rips heart out of Paris Agreement. Worse, it's done in secret
This is face of *Global Britain* – lower standards to get dealshttps://t.co/JB6yqZKfD2
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) September 8, 2021
Ed Miliband, Labour’s business secretary, told the Guardian: “Australia is one of the world’s biggest polluters and key to the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C. But rather than piling pressure on them, the government has simply rolled over.”
Miliband added: “This government is pursuing trade deals at the expense of our farmers and now our climate targets. This is simply a massive betrayal of our country and our planet.”