COP26: Half of Scots believe major climate conference will not deliver meaningful change

World leaders have a fight on their hands to prove to the Scottish people that COP26 will deliver meaningful change on climate change after a new poll showed half of Scots believe it will fail to do so.

The poll, undertaken by Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman, shows only exactly half (50 per cent) of Scots believe the global climate change conference will bring about meaningful change.

COP26 is set to get underway in Glasgow on Monday, with up to 25,000 delegates descending on the city from around the world in an attempt to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C and deliver on the promise of $100 billion in climate financing to developing countries.

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Young activists take part in the Youth Strike to Defund Climate Chaos protest against the funding of fossil fuels outside Standard Chartered Bank in London ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

However, a poll shows that Scots are sceptical the climate change conference, which will see world leaders such as US president Joe Biden arrive in Glasgow for talks, will deliver the change required to tackle climate change.

The poll interviewed 1,005 Scots aged 16 and over between October 22 and 28.

Fewer than one in ten (9 per cent) of Scots believe COP26 will make a “very meaningful difference” to climate change, with 30 per cent stating it will make a “somewhat meaningful difference”.

One in three Scots (34 per cent) believe the conference will make some difference, but still say it will make “not much of a meaningful difference”.

Around one in seven (15 per cent) are pessimistic about the negotiations, arguing they will make “not a meaningful difference at all”.

Younger voters are most optimistic about COP26, with 18 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds saying it will make a “very” meaningful difference, compared to just 5 per cent of those aged over 65.

One in five (20 per cent) of Scots over the age of 65 believe nothing will come from the conference. However, 45 to 54-year-olds are even more pessimistic, with 22 per cent of that age cohort agreeing.

Politically, the trend is similar, with SNP voters most likely to say the conference will make a difference to climate change and Conservative voters most likely to say it will make little or no meaningful difference.

Scottish Green voters are also split on the conference’s effectiveness, with 42 per cent stating it will make a meaningful difference and 49 per cent stating it will not.

Lorna Slater, one of the Scottish Greens’ two ministers in the Scottish Government following the co-operation agreement, has said she was “not confident” COP26 would deliver “enough change, fast enough”.

Nicola Sturgeon has warned world leaders that progress must be made at COP26 for politicians to look the next generation in the eye when saying they are doing as much as possible to keep warming below 1.5C.

Scots are also most likely to believe the climate conference will not benefit either Boris Johnson or Nicola Sturgeon more than each other, with 23 per cent of respondents stating they will both benefit equally.

However, almost the same number, 22 per cent, said Ms Sturgeon would benefit more from COP26, while 17 per cent said the Prime Minister would gain more from the event.

A total of 38 per cent of respondents said they did not know.

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