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Countdown to COP26

2 November 2020

COP26 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to accelerate climate ambitions

As the one year to COP26 countdown begins, we asked SSN Steering Group member, Dr Duncan Booker, COP26 Stakeholder Manager at Glasgow City Council what we can expect next year.

Glasgow will host the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, next year from 1-12 November. Glasgow City Council is working closely with the hosts, the UK Government and partner agencies to ensure that COP26 is a safe and successful experience for delegates and other visitors to the city. The key aim of the event itself is to seek global action to safeguard the future of the planet and its inhabitants from global warming and to ensure that the Paris commitments to keeping global temperature rises below 1.5 degrees centigrade are maintained. It will also now be even more pertinent to charting a new course for the world as national governments look to recover from Covid-19 and to reconstruct a cleaner, greener economy.

In this light, the council will be looking to activate around its sustainability priorities to contribute to a ‘COP City’ feel with other partners. The principal network for civil society groups, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, is also looking to activate in the city centre for the duration of COP26. Glasgow Cathedral has been given over to use by faith groups for the event. Universities in the city centre will also see significant activity in terms of conference and seminar traffic and student activism.

Many of these discussions are not limited to the period in which COP26 is being hosted. They are also offering opportunities to invite the world to come to Glasgow over the coming months, whether virtually or in person (subject to prevailing Covid rules) and following COP26. Indeed, the Council has been engaged in a range of on-line discussions which fit well with its existing policy agenda on sustainability, with both local and global partners, much of which has been driven by the prospect of the city hosting COP26. These already represent a tangible legacy of COP26 for Glasgow and Scotland and a practical means of accelerating debate and action on the journey to net zero. SSN members are similarly encouraged to see COP26 as an once-in-a-lifetime means of accelerating their existing ambitions.

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