The Cop26 summit kicked off in Glasgow on Sunday. Here’s what happened on day one
– UK politician Alok Sharma officially assumed the role of Cop26 President taking over the gavel and presiding duties from Chile’s Carolina Schmidt Zaldivar, with a warning that the conference was the last best chance to keep global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
He said the world would succeed or fail as one, as he urged countries to make Glasgow the conference that delivers on the commitments to curb warming made in the global Paris climate accord, agreed in the French capital in 2015.
– As the conference opened, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warned the last seven years have been the hottest on record – with sea levels rising to new highs and climate-related destructive weather extremes in 2021.
This year is likely to have been the fifth to seventh hottest year on record, due to a “La Nina” weather phenomenon in the Pacific – which has a cooling affect on global temperatures, but it still averaged 1.09C above pre-industrial levels.
– The conference, delayed by a year by the pandemic, is a Cop like no other, due to the ongoing threat of Covid-19.
Delegates have to wear masks, observe social distancing and take daily lateral flow tests before attending, while there are also room capacity limits and potentially access to the overall venue may be limited at busy times.
Holding the conference while the pandemic continues has raised concerns from some quarters about access and transparency, but Mr Sharma has said it is important to hold face-to-face negotiations among countries.
Some 21,238 party delegates, 13,834 observers and 3,823 media have registered for the conference.
– Hundreds of passengers hoping to travel to Glasgow were left waiting inside London’s Euston station after a fallen tree halted services, while many were caught on slow moving or stationary trains, or forced to book domestic flights to reach the summit.
Travellers acknowledged the irony of being delayed by extreme weather and said it is both “inconvenient” and a reminder of the impacts of climate change.
– Choosing another route to get to the summit, Greenpeace vessel the Rainbow Warrior is planning to sail up the Clyde carrying youth strikers from communities most hit by climate change to demand world leaders “stop failing us”.
The campaign group said it had been warned by port authorities not to sail up the River Clyde to the conference, but added the vessel would still attemptthe journey, arriving on Monday afternoon.
– A glacier in Antarctica has been formally named after the city of Glasgow to mark its hosting of Cop26.
The Glasgow Glacier is one of nine areas of fast-flowing ice in the Getz basin in the west of the continent to be named after locations of major climate treaties, conferences and reports.