The UN secretary general has said that climate talks will have to formally take place online.

Ahead of the Cop26 summit, António Guterres told governments and officials that negotiations and meetings will have to take place online amid the pandemic.

“Preparatory negotiations for Cop26 will need to take place virtually … We simply cannot allow the pandemic to keep us from working together on the crucial pathway to Glasgow. Although there will be challenges, we must adapt. The stakes are too high to do otherwise,” he said.

“We can conduct our business in an inclusive and transparent manner,” he added. “I have directed UN officials around the world to make offices and venues available to allow for all countries to participate in virtual negotiations. We will support this process in every way possible to ensure its success.”

“We must send a clear message to the parties: it is time to wrap up negotiations and move towards its full implementation … This issue [of carbon markets] cannot continue to be deferred, Cop after Cop after Cop. We need a political decision.”

Last year the Cop25 summit was delayed by a year and should be taking place in Glasgow. The talks ahead of the meeting are necessary for governments to ensure they have key targets.