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The COP26 UN climate summit in Scotland has been postponed until 2021, as organisers admitted Covid-19 was the world’s immediate focus, but they anticipate that the green agenda will be central to the post-virus rebuilding process.

The most important climate negotiations since the Paris agreement in 2015 were scheduled to take place this November to put countries back on track to avoid climate breakdown. *

Dozens of world leaders were due to attend the COP26 gathering that was set to run in Glasgow from November 9th this year. Last night, a statement from the UN confirmed that the meeting of over 26,000 attendees would be delayed with the conference now expected to take place by the middle of next year.

The UK energy minister and president of the Cop26 conference, Alok Sharma, held crunch talks with the UN and several other countries yesterday to confirm the timing of the summit. “The world is currently facing an unprecedented global challenge and countries are rightly focusing their efforts on saving lives and fighting Covid-19. That is why we have decided to reschedule Cop26,” he said.

“We will continue working tirelessly with our partners to deliver the ambition needed to tackle the climate crisis and I look forward to agreeing a new date for the conference”, he added.

Environmental campaigners believe there are numerous benefits to the delay, as the US presidential elections take place this November, just before COP26 was scheduled to begin. With the summit delayed to next year, other governments will have time to adjust either to a second term of Donald Trump, who counters the Paris agreement and is withdrawing the US from it or a new president who is likely to support climate action.

However, the delay will come as a blow to some campaigners, who have urged the UK government to continue with the conference despite the outbreak to avoid stalling the progress on global climate action. This is because, climate experts fear that delaying the talks would mean governments eased off on pursuing stronger commitments to fulfil the Paris goals set 5 years ago.

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Visit the COP26 official website to keep updated on all the recent news, https://www.ukcop26.org

*https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52122450

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