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UN climate talks postponed due to coronavirus

UN climate talks postponed due to coronavirus
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The upcoming United Nations summit on climate change will be postponed the world battles the spread of the coronavirus, its chief organizer said Wednesday.

Alok Sharma, the United Kingdom's secretary of state for international development and president-designate of the upcoming talks, announced on Twitter that the negotiations would be delayed as countries focus on stopping the spread of the virus, which has infected more than 900,000 people globally.

"The world is facing an unprecedented global challenge & countries are rightly focusing on fighting #COVID19," Sharma tweeted. "Due to this, #COP26 has been postponed."

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The top climate change official at the U.N., Patricia Espinosa, added in a statement obtained by Politico: "COVID-19 is the most urgent threat facing humanity today, but we cannot forget that climate change is the biggest threat facing humanity over the long term."

The talks were scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, and expected to be a stage for world governments to unveil more ambitious new climate plans in line with the Paris climate accords. It's unclear what role the U.S. would have in such talks following the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Paris accords.

Europe has been especially hard-hit by the coronavirus epidemic, with nearly 30,000 cases reported in the United Kingdom and more than 110,000 in Italy.