COP26: Who were the winners and losers in Glasgow?

COP26, the global climate change conference hosted by the UN in Glasgow, is over and with it a fresh agreement aiming to limit the impact of man-made climate change.

With strong personalities lining the halls, who can consider themselves a winner or loser following negotiators leaving the halls of the SEC?

Nicola Sturgeon – Winner

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The First Minister had one job for the fortnight of COP26 – position herself as a progressive and forward-thinking voice on climate change, pressuring world leaders with power to move further on their climate aims.

Alok Sharma, President of Cop26 (left) Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during a press conference in Downing Street, London about the Cop26 climate summit.
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On this, she succeeded, with well-placed photo-ops throughout the two-week conference suggesting she had more influence on proceedings than was, in fact, the case given the lack of a formal role.

Free from the responsibilities or accountability of a head of state facing the realities of negotiations, the SNP leader seemed to relish the opportunity to amp up the rhetoric in front of a global audience.

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Boris Johnson – Loser

Having to defend your country’s reputation amid a storm of accusations of sleaze and corruption in the middle of what was billed as the most important climate change conference of recent years is a situation no Prime Minister wants to find themselves in.

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Yet, through no fault, but his own, that was the experience of Boris Johnson as the row surrounding Owen Paterson and MPs holding second jobs became the main event during COP26.

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He ended the fortnight battered and bruised by a chastening political reality check, and a watered-down climate deal.

Alok Sharma – Winner

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The COP26 President will only have enhanced his reputation as not only a safe pair of hands, but also a politician willing to put in the hard yards for a meaningful outcome.

His show of emotion and apology following the agreement of the Glasgow Climate Pact will likely put him on the right side of history as a man cognisant of the very real impact of global warming beyond 1.5C.

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Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie – Losers

Carefully stage-managed out of the spotlight, the Green leaders were a meaningless sideshow to the main Scottish Government event of Ms Sturgeon.

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Alongside a needless row over Greenpeace’s criticism of the Scottish Government, the first UK Green Party to enter power seemed to lose its environmental teeth.

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