Magazine Article - Resources Magazine

The State of Global Climate Policy after the Delay of COP26

| May 15, 2020

Robert N. Stavins, an RFF university fellow, Harvard professor, and RFF Board member, recently hosted Sue Biniaz on a recent episode of hisEnvironmental Insights podcast. Formerly a top State Department official and lead climate negotiator for the United States, Biniaz shares her thoughts on the postponement of COP26. Stavins and Biniaz explore ways to reimagine future United Nations climate negotiations, unresolved concerns from COP25, and how the United States might approach rejoining the Paris Agreement.

Robert N. Stavins: As you well know, the venue where we were together at last year's climate talks in Madrid, as well as what was the planned venue for this year's climate talks in Glasgow, have both been turned into field hospitals because of COVID-19. And, of course, the climate talks that were scheduled to take place in November 2020 in Glasgow have been postponed due to the global pandemic. What's your reaction to the postponement?

Sue Biniaz: I wasn't shocked. I didn't see how you could decide to stick with the current dates, so I was not unpleasantly surprised. I guess we're all disappointed, but it had to be the right decision. Also, I never thought it was a great idea to have the COP a week after the US election.

I’m sure you remember as well as I do in 2016, the proximity of the COP to the US election.

Exactly—and the COP that was in the Hague many moons ago was right in the middle of the Bush vs. Gore undecided election. In a Trump 2.0 scenario, I think it would cast a negative shadow on the whole COP. But if Biden were to win, the new administration wouldn’t be able to really do or say anything, because they wouldn’t be in power....

For more information on this publication: Please contact Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
For Academic Citation:

Stavins, Robert N. and Sue Biniaz."The State of Global Climate Policy after the Delay of COP26." Resources Magazine, May 15, 2020.

The Authors

Robert N. Stavins