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.

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.

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.

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

Alok Sharma – Winner

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.

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.

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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