The chief environment official from the Israeli cabinet attended the climate change conference COP26 in Poland on Thursday, but had to sit in the audience because he had not been granted access to the hall where it was held. Arkady Dvorkovich, who also chairs the Israeli governmental committee for climate change, said he had been told that Polish officials could not guarantee that he could obtain a wheelchair lift, which would allow him to attend the event. “Unfortunately, we cannot deploy a wheelchair lift,” Dvorkovich told reporters. He wasn’t sure, he said, whether officials would allow him to travel to the next level, the plenary hall.
“I would be really interested to be able to sit in plenary hall,” Dvorkovich said. “You are all aware of this.” Dvorkovich said he was informed of the decision only recently and was then told that there was no possibility he could attend. But finally on Thursday, he was granted access, and able to witness the opening of the conference. When I asked Britain’s environment secretary Michael Gove about the issue, he said that he had been told “there was no possibility.” But several hours later, on Friday morning, Dvorkovich had changed his mind, telling Polish media that he welcomed the conversation and would gladly attend a future conference if he had access to a wheelchair lift.
Gove himself apologized for the misunderstanding on Thursday. He said that it was “hilarious,” given the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s “disguised laughter,” after he had been told of the situation. “Let me make it clear that I had no difficulty in extending Arkady’s invitation,” Gove said. “But I deeply regret that there was an honest mistake in terms of the wheelchair lift.”
Read the full story at the Guardian.
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