Nicola Sturgeon: It’s not certain that Cop26 will limit global temperature rise

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The success of the Cop26 summit in limiting the rise in global temperatures cannot be taken for granted, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister acknowledged there is still a “significant gap” between ambitions to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5 degrees and the current commitments from world leaders.

Delegates from around the world are beginning to gather in Glasgow ahead of the summit opening this weekend.

During a media briefing on Friday, Ms Sturgeon was asked if Cop26 could become shorthand for failing to tackle climate change.

She said: “I don’t think success at this summit can be taken for granted at all.

“And that’s probably an understatement.

“World leaders will gather here Sunday into Monday.

“And the position at the opening of the conference is one that sees a significant gap between where we need to get to to keep 1.5 degrees alive as the limit of global warming.”

Current commitments were not sufficient to keep global warming below two degrees, she said.

The First Minister continued: “If that gap can’t all be closed in Glasgow, then at the very least we need to come out of Glasgow with a clear process and timescale around the way in which it will be closed.

“In other words, keeping 1.5 alive.

“The next decade, between now and 2030, is critical if we want to keep 1.5 alive.”

The First Minister also said she wanted the UK’s presidency of the climate change summit to be a “roaring success”.

Cop26 – Glasgow
The summit poses an inevitable risk of rising Covid cases, Ms Sturgeon has said (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Earlier, Ms Sturgeon said Cop26 posed an inevitable risk of increased Covid-19 transmission.

She urged those visiting Glasgow for the conference, including delegates and activists, to follow measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

Efforts have been made to ensure delegates are fully vaccinated, she said, while those entering the blue zone will need to take daily lateral flow tests.

Ms Sturgeon also said she expects both pre-planned and spontaneous protests to take place during the two-week conference, which begins on Sunday.

The First Minister said: “More generally, and this of course applies to all protests, I would ask that people demonstrating show consideration for the city and people who live here.

Police officers in Glasgow
Police Scotland’s chief constable warned protesters intent on violence they will be ‘robustly’ dealt with (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“The people of Glasgow are opening their city up to the world at what is a difficult time for everybody around the world.

“I hope those who are travelling into the city, welcome though they are, recognise that.”

Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone told the briefing that those intent on causing violent disorder during the Cop26 summit will be responded to “swiftly and robustly”.

He said policing the international conference will be one of the largest operations to have taken place anywhere in the UK.

“We will protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest at Cop26, balanced against the rights of the wider community,” he said.

“But to those intent on violent disorder and damage, to those who seek to disrupt the climate conference actually taking place, I have a clear message: We will respond swiftly and we will respond robustly.”

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