Glasgow is known for many things, including its architecture and history of shipbuilding.
But its environmental credentials are perhaps not as obvious, with Celtic’s hooped kit and Ibrox’s turf likely to be the best-known ‘green’ entities in Scotland’s largest city.
So why has Glasgow been chosen to be the host of the COP26 climate change summit, and where exactly will the event be held in the city?
Here’s everything you need to know.
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What is COP26?
COP26, or the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, is an upcoming international summit where the world’s leaders will attempt to agree on how best to tackle the climate crisis.
These events take place annually, with the 2021 edition being the 26th such summit.
Hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, COP26 is set to be the biggest climate change summit since Paris in 2015 (COP21).
In the French capital, 196 nation states signed up to a goal of limiting global warming to “well below” two degrees celsius this century, with an ultimate aim of keeping it below 1.5 degrees celsius.
These targets have since become the foundation for many countries’ and businesses’ net-zero ambitions.
However, a report published in August by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found they were unlikely to be achieved.
So 2021’s edition has been labelled as “the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control” by its organisers - the UK Government.
Its aim is to get countries to update their plans for reducing emissions and to become more ambitious in how they tackle climate change.
Indeed, it has come amidst a backdrop of extreme global weather events throughout this year.
These include: severe winter storms in Texas, unprecedented snowfall in Spain, major forest fires across the USA and destructive cyclones in the Western Pacific Ocean.
Around 120 heads of state are expected to attend COP26 alongside between 20,000 and 30,000 delegates.
These people will be negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens.
Why is Glasgow hosting COP26?
As the UK is the principal host of COP26, it has been able to choose where the summit will be held.
Glasgow has been selected due to its “experience, commitment to sustainability and world-class facilities”, according to the organisers.
The city has set itself a target for carbon neutrality by 2030 and aims to be one of the greenest cities in Europe through its Sustainable Glasgow campaign.
It is fourth in the world on the Global Destination Sustainability Index, which ranks cities by their social and environmental performance, as well as their commitment to improve their score.
The Government also said Glasgow had a “proven track record” of hosting major events, such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Where in Glasgow will COP26 take place?
Between Sunday 31 October and Friday 12 November, a Green Zone will encompass the Glasgow Science Centre and Scottish Event Campus (SEC).
This means the area will be closed off to the general public and will be under a high level of security.
Situated on the banks of the River Clyde to the west of the city centre, this area plays host to venues including:
- The SEC Centre – five interconnected exhibition and meeting spaces
- The SEC Armadillo – a 3,000 seat auditorium
- The SSE Hydro – a 14,300 capacity concert, sporting and special events arena.
These venues will be used as offices for delegations, exhibition space and negotiating rooms.
Can I go to the COP26 climate summit?
Yes. The Glasgow Science Centre will be open to the public from 1 to 12 November - albeit for people who have booked a free ticket from the COP26 Green Zone website.
Only delegates will be able to access the rest of the Green Zone.
The area will be open from 9am to 6pm, with an evening programme taking place in the Centre’s cinema between 6pm and 10pm.
Those wishing to attend will have to go through airport-style security checks.
They will also be subject to Scottish Covid-19 protocols. For example, guests will need to scan a QR code to check-in to the venue and will also be advised to wear a face covering during their visit.
There will be more than 200 events the public can go to, with cultural performances, exhibitions, talks, film screenings and technical demonstrations being led by people and organisations from around the world.
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