The two-week summit – expected to be the biggest ever held in Britain – had been expected to trigger fresh pledges from hundreds of world leaders to stick to their promise under the Paris agreement on climate change and act to avert catastrophic global warming.
The government has proposed that the conference, known as COP-26, be rescheduled for Nov. 1-12, 2021, according to a letter from the cabinet office to the UN, seen by Reuters.
“We are working with our international and delivery partners to agree new dates to hold COP26 after it was postponed. We will set these out in due course,” a government spokesperson said, confirming that the conference will still be held in Glasgow.
The letter did not say whether rescheduling would mean pushing back the following annual UN climate summit (COP-27), which was due to take place in Africa at the end of 2021.
Any decision on a new date ultimately rests with the UN’s climate body, which meets on Thursday to discuss Britain’s proposal.
The Glasgow summit had been expected to serve as a deadline for nearly 200 countries to announce new, more ambitious emissions-cutting pledges under the Paris agreement.
Countries’ current pledges put the world on track for levels of global warming far above what scientists say would be “safe” – charting a course towards more severe droughts, sea-level rise, desertification and mass extinction of species.
Still, some investors, diplomats and campaigners said postponing the summit would buy governments time to prepare emissions-cutting plans and integrate climate targets into stimulus packages to revive their virus-hit economies.