Scotland will host a major United Nations climate change summit after its main rival Turkey withdrew from the bid.
COP26 – the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – will be held in Glasgow in November 2020. Italy, which is also part of the joint bid, will hold a preliminary meeting.
The event, described as the most high-profile climate change gathering since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015, is expected to attract up to 200 world leaders for the final weekend and more than 30,000 delegates.
The two-week summit, which will be the largest held in the UK, will be hosted at Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus (SEC).
Last night Scottish climate change secretary Roseanna Cunningham welcomed the decision, saying: “I am pleased that Glasgow has been confirmed as the host city of COP26, now that the joint UK and Italy bid to host the summit has been approved.
“It is right that this conference should come to Scotland given our leadership in climate action. Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to acknowledge the global climate emergency and the Scottish Government has introduced the toughest targets in the UK to ensure our action matches the scale of our climate ambitions.
“We look forward to working collaboratively with partners to deliver an ambitious and effective conference that ensures Scotland plays a leading role to help promote the increased global effort to tackle climate change.”
However, Caroline Rance, Friends of the Earth Scotland climate campaigner, warned the Scottish Government’s record on climate change would come under scrutiny in the lead up to and during the summit.
“The eyes of the world will be on Scotland when the UN Climate Conference comes to Glasgow,” she said.
“If the Scottish Government doesn’t increase its targets in the Climate Bill currently going through Holyrood and get serious about cutting emissions, COP26 will expose Scotland as simply one of many rich, industrialised countries failing to deliver their fair share of efforts to tackle the crisis.”
Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie also welcomed the announcement.
“The science is clear – we have just a decade left to take the bold and urgent action required to transform our economy so that it works for people and planet,” he said.
Mr Harvie added: “I am hopeful that hosting this event will focus minds and embolden both the Scottish and UK governments to recognise the scale of the challenge we face and set to work focusing all the levers of government toward tackling the climate emergency.”