Activist Greta Thunberg has said she will not attend the climate summit in Glasgow this year unless global inequalities in coronavirus vaccine rollouts are solved.
The 18-year-old campaigner said she would love to attend COP26 but “not unless everyone can take part on the same terms”.
The Swedish climate-change activist said if representatives from across the world are unable to attend due to inequalities in the availability of Covid-19 vaccinations it would be “undemocratic”.
She said: “Of course I would love to attend the Glasgow COP26. But not unless everyone can take part on the same terms. Right now many countries are vaccinating healthy young people, often at the expense of risk groups and front line workers.
“Inequality and climate injustice is already the heart of the climate crisis. If people can’t be vaccinated and travel to be represented equally that’s undemocratic and would worsen the problem. Vaccine nationalism won’t solve the pandemic. Global problems need global solutions.”
The UK Government denied claims that the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) could be postponed again.
It is now set to go ahead from November 1 to November 12 this year, and will be held at the SEC.
Work on plans for an in-person summit continued last week as COP26 president Alok Sharma met with Glasgow City Council’s leader Susan Aitken.
Aitken said both parties – and the United Nations – are “clear” that stakeholders are planning for delegates to arrive from across the world.
More than 10,000 people from 98 countries have applied to volunteer at the summit, which world leaders are expected to attend in what has been described as the most significant international meeting on the climate since the Paris Agreement in 2015.
Ms Thunberg has called for the summit to be delayed saying a digital solution was “far from optimal”.
She said: “High speed internet connection and access to computers is extremely unequal in the world. In that case we would lack representation from those whose voices need to be heard the most when it comes to the climate crisis.
“But if current trends continue and the COP26 has to be delayed that doesn’t mean we have to delay the urgent action required. We don’t have to wait for conferences nor anyone or anything else to dramatically start reducing our emissions. Solidarity and action can start today.”