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26th Annual Conference of the Parties to be hosted in Glasgow

The 26th annual Conference of the Parties (COP), will be held in the SEC Centre, Glasgow in November 2020. This is a UN-led meeting which discusses actions taken to address climate change, with the newly appointed Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, announced as the President on the 13th February.

The conference, which is held yearly between countries that have ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will be attended by an estimated 40,000 people, including 200 world leaders.

The UNFCCC is an environmental treaty that came into effect in 1994, with the first COP subsequently held in Berlin in 1995.

COP26 will also incorporate the 16th meeting of the parties for the Kyoto Protocol (CMP16) and the third meeting of the parties for the Paris Agreement (CMA3), both of which are also major international environmental treaties.

The event will last for ten days from the 9th to the 19th of November. It will be held at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) centre in Glasgow; contingency plans have been put into place for an event location change to London in the case of an emergency.

The total cost of policing the event has been estimated at approximately £250 million.

A Scottish Police Authority report released in January stated that the event would see “the largest mass mobilisation of police officers in the UK.”

The report also detailed potential social and environmental effects on the residents of Glasgow.

“…work is ongoing to develop a Community Impact Assessment and a key tenet of the strategy for this event will include minimising the impact of the event on communities…

“Police Scotland has, within the Gold Strategy, committed to embrace a sustainable approach to the planning and delivery of the event…”

Originally, the former UK Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, Claire Perry O’Neill, was appointed the president of COP26.

However, she was removed from this position on the 31st January, with no official reason given for her dismissal.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron and former Leader of the House of Commons William Hague were both offered the presidency position but turned it down.

Sharma, who has voted against taxing polluting vehicles and supported carbon-capture policies, was then appointed.

The conference is considered particularly important due to the lack of progress made at COP25, held last December in Madrid.

COP25 was the longest on record, lasting two weeks, and was attended by 27,000 delegates over this period. It also saw over 200 climate campaigners and indigenous rights activists ejected from the venue following protests.

There was debate over rules for carbon market mechanisms; ultimately, many decisions were delayed until 2020.

Additionally, COP26 will have to discuss a new, long-term deal for rising temperatures: the Paris Agreement, effective from 2016, commits participating nations to a temperature increase of less than 2oC by 2100, yet current estimates are for an increase of 3.2oC. Experts have stated that this may be the last chance for international cooperation on the crisis.

The event is expected to be the largest gathering of foreign leaders and diplomats hosted by the UK, dwarfing previous global summits.

Image: Marco Verch via Flickr