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CAMPAIGNERS have told governments it is time to “double down” on environmental efforts after a key UN summit of climate change was postponed due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
Cop26, which was set to take place in Scotland in November, has been set back a year, its organisers announced on Wednesday night.
The decision to postpone was taken by the UN, in consultation with Britain and co-hosts Italy, with dates in 2021 to be agreed in further discussion.
The summit was to be the most important global climate convention since 2015, when the Paris Agreement was ratified.
Environmental groups say there could be no return to “business as usual” after the pandemic clears.
Greenpeace executive director Jennifer Morgan said: “Cop26 being put on hold should make governments double down on their efforts to ensure a green and just way forward in handling this health crisis and the climate emergency.
“Going back to business as usual is completely unacceptable: this pandemic shows there are huge lessons to be learned about the importance of listening to science and the need for urgent collective global action.”
During 2020 countries were expected to come forward with deeper emissions cuts.
Although the world is on a pathway towards more than 3°C of warming, the Paris Agreement commits countries to curb temperatures to 1.5°C or 2°C above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Campaigners warned the response to Covid-19 should not become an excuse to undermine efforts to address the climate crisis.
"Countries still need to submit their enhanced climate plans by the end of year to be in line with the scientific imperative of limiting heating increases to 1.5°C," Christian Aid's global climate lead, Kat Kramer said.
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