Glasgow chosen to host major climate change summit
COP26 could see 30,000 delegates gather in the city at the end of next year.
Glasgow has been selected to host a major UN climate change summit next year, if a UK bid is successful.
The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would see around 30,000 delegates gather in the city.
The UK Government is bidding to host COP26 over two weeks at the end of 2020, and has announced that the conference will be held at Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus (SEC) on the banks of the River Clyde.
Glasgow is the right choice to showcase the UK’s commitment to the environment Claire Perry
It would be the largest summit the UK has ever held, with up to 200 world leaders expected to attend for the final weekend.
Former minister Claire Perry, nominated as COP26 president, said: “As one of the UK’s most sustainable cities, with a record for hosting high-profile international events, Glasgow is the right choice to showcase the UK’s commitment to the environment.
“In 2020, world leaders will come together to discuss how to protect our planet and set the direction for the years to come.”
A UN conference on climate change in Glasgow would be an incredible opportunity to to demand the action we so desperately need. https://t.co/jei3hP4oqk— SCIAF (@sciaf) August 9, 2019
At COP21 in Paris in 2015, participating countries reached a landmark agreement to keep a global temperature rise this century below 2C above pre-industrial levels.
The UK Government said that, five years on, COP26 will be the first major test of the international community’s commitment to scale up efforts to reduce emissions.
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “Glasgow has world-class facilities to host a prestigious conference like this, which will also provide a significant boost to the local economy and attract people from across the globe.
“The UK Government is showing great leadership on this vital issue – becoming the first major economy to pass new laws to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050.”
The Scottish Government wants to reach that target by 2045, and Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said ministers are committed to taking action “that matches the scale of our climate ambitions”.
She said: “We have been supportive of the UK Government’s joint bid with Italy to host COP26 and are committed to working collaboratively to deliver an ambitious and effective conference that includes a strong role for Scottish ministers, represents the interests of Scotland and promotes increased global ambition on climate change.”
This summit will be the first real test of resolve under the Paris Agreement Friends of the Earth Scotland
Environment campaigners also welcomed the announcement.
Lang Banks, director at WWF Scotland, said: “The fossil fuel era began in Scotland and in 2020 the global community must come to Glasgow and say that this will be the last fossil fuel generation and that we are ready to take on the climate and nature emergencies we face.
“This would be a huge event and the Scottish and UK Governments must be ready to show that we have our own houses in order and have strong climate emergency plans in place.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland director Richard Dixon said: “By COP26 all countries must have submitted new national pledges for climate action, so this summit will be the first real test of resolve under the Paris Agreement.
“Currently pledges put us on a path to a catastrophic 3 degrees or more, while the Paris Agreement’s goal is to get countries’ commitments in line with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees.”
The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) said: “The fact that this conference is in Glasgow, one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution, only underlines the fact that climate change has been driven by wealthy nations like our own, while those who have done the least to cause it suffer the most.
“It is time for world leaders to live up to the promises they made in the Paris Agreement and commit to ambitious action to prevent a climate breakdown.”
Christian Aid head of policy Dr Alison Doig said: “Scotland is an understandable green choice considering it’s the home of the UK’s biggest resources of onshore wind energy and its potential for wave and tidal power.
“As the host nation the UK needs to show that it is taking action to move us to a net zero economy as rapidly as possible.
“The word Glasgow means ‘dear green place’ and we need this to be at the heart of the negotiations so we can all truly call the world our dear green place.”