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Boris Johnson’s advisers consider to hold COP26 online in face of winter Covid risk

Global Warming Policy Forum

When the GWPF earlier this week called on Boris Johnson to turn the UN climate summit in Glasgow in November (COP26) into an online event, we didn’t expect that his advisers would respond that quickly, now considering the same idea.

The Guardian is today reporting that “a rising chorus of voices within Whitehall is calling for a virtual Cop26, in place of the messy uncertainty of an in-person Cop that may have to be called off anyway, if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse.”

It would appear that new Covid variants are causing rising government concerns about the possible resurgence of infections next winter. As members of the government’s scientific advisory committee, Sage, have been called to an urgent meeting, Boris Johnson has warned of even “greater suffering” next winter if new Covid-19 variants were to spread and take root.

COP26 president Alok Sharma seems determined to ignore the Prime Minister’s Covid warnings and wants to go ahead with plans to fly in thousands of delegates from around the world, regardless of any Covid risks.

According to the Financial Times, the UK and the UN are exploring the possibility of a special vaccination programme for COP26 delegates to ensure the climate summit can proceed face-to-face in November. Ministers are contemplating a ‘hybrid model’ that would allow 9,000 national officials from nearly 200 countries to fly in and meet in person, while the habitual green campaigners, energy lobbyists and the army of eco-journalists would have to follow deliberations online.

In light of his winter Covid warnings and the many benefits of turning COP26 into an virtual conference, the Prime Minister would be well advised to make the right decision, or risk exposing the Government’s Covid warnings as hypocritical.