COP26: Climate campaigners arrive in Glasgow as church bells mark call for action

Campaigners from across the world have arrived in Glasgow for the start of international climate talks tomorrow morning.

Photographers waiting for Greta Thunberg’s arrival in Glasgow.
Photo: DrillOrDrop

The Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg, came by train into Glasgow Central Station where a large group of photographers was waiting.

She joined Vanessa Nakate from Uganda, Dominika Lasota from Poland, and Mitzi Tan from the Philippines in an emergency appeal for climate action.

They demanded an immediate end to all fossil fuel investments, subsidies and new projects. They said:

“We are catastrophically far from the crucial goal of 1.5°C, and yet governments everywhere are still accelerating the crisis, spending billions on fossil fuels.

“This is not a drill. It’s code red for the Earth. Millions will suffer as our planet is devastated — a terrifying future that will be created, or avoided, by the decisions you make. You have the power to decide.

“As citizens across the planet, we urge you to face up to the climate emergency. Not next year. Not next month. Now”

Church bells, a traditional warning sign of danger, rang across the UK this evening, from Truro to Norwich and Chichester to Edinburgh.

Earlier, members of Extinction Rebellion Scotland, dressed in blue, welcomed campaigners from across Europe to Glasgow.

A group of walkers finally arrived in the city this afternoon after beginning their journey in Newhaven in East Sussex in August. They wore a coat of hopes which has been decorated with embroidered patches from the places they passed through.

The Coat of Hopes arrives in Glasgow this afternoon. Photo: Coat of Hopes

The closing session of the Conference of Youth, also held in Glasgow, was disrupted by young delegates. They interrupted the speech of the COP26 president-delegate, Alok Sharma, calling for climate justice.

This afternoon, high security surrounded the Scottish Events Campus, where COP26 is taking place. Nearby roads are closed to vehicles and participants have to go through checkpoints to reach the venue.

Roads closed around the COP26 venue. Photo: DrillOrDrop

The talks open tomorrow at 10am, with the handover of the COP presidency from Carolina Schmidt, of Chile, to the UK’s Alok Sharma.

On Monday, Boris Johnson will welcome heads of state and governments for the two-day World Leaders’ Summit. Earlier today he warned that failure to tackle climate change would prompt “very difficult geopolitical events”.

This evening, the opposition leader, Sir Keir Starmer, accused Mr Johnson of lowering expectations for the talks. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, he said:

“the Prime Minister is turning into a commentator, rather than a leader in relation to Cop26, lowering expectations by a commentary instead of leadership on the global stage”, 

Reporting by DrillOrDrop in Glasgow has been made possible by individual donations from readers

10 replies »

  1. Thanks for your significant efforts as ever Ruth.
    I wish I could have faith in our world leaders to deliver on their rhetoric around climate change; urgent ACTION and DELIVERY for investment and development of all renewables (you know the list, not just solar and wind) and a commensurate reduction in investment and development for fossil fuels. Sadly, I don’t. I hope I’m proved conclusively wrong. Do these world leaders have children (Boris obviously does) and grandchildren?

    • The issue of “ecocide” and “environmenticide” must be some of the prime objective to these COP26 discussions and negotiations.

      Many corporations have, when objected to, for their destruction of the local ecology and environment, have simply said, “There is no law against it, so we can do what we like!”.

      The only way to stop further ecological and environmental destruction for greed, profit and power, is to make “ecocide” and “environmenticide” an internationally agreed and UN enforceable criminal offences punishable by severe prison sentences for the top CEO’s and banking and private financiers, and massive corporate or government fines. All to be enforceable by immediate cessation of the destructive activities and forced reparation of the damage at their own cost under pain of further fines and prison sentences.

      That is one of the few ways to make a worldwide enforceable statement that any further ecocid and environmentacide attempts will be severely punished no matter where or when.

      To take the fight directly to the perpetrators and to prevent the costs being passed on the tax payers must be the only way forward. think of all those trillions in offshore tax haven trust accounts, just sitting there waiting to be put to a far better use than financing greed, power and profit for its own sake.

      Lets see the blame put fairly and squarely on the perpetrators, and make them put their money where their mouths are for a change.

      I hope you are all having a great Sunday with family and friends. And to those who are going to Glasgow for COP26, enjoy the spectacle of corporate and government squirming and attempted avoidance of the real issues when the shale hits the fan!

        • PS,I read that the six environmental expert delegates from Afghanistan, all dissenters and have escaped from the murderous Taliban regime, have been betrayed by our governments and the COP26 organisation. They have been refused permission to attend COP26. No reason was given.

          Afghans have Cop26 delegate applications rejected days before event
          October 30, 2021

          Also island governments are being prevented from attending due to many reasons. Only yesterday the so called “UK Red List” ban was lifted.

          Countries unable to reach COP26 could soon vanish 28.10.2021 (I post the entire subject here below, as many wont look at the linked documents)

          “Island nations in the Pacific often play a major role at UN climate conferences. The speeches and coalition building of leaders from nations which will soon vanish beneath rising sea levels act as a powerful reminder of the real stakes at play. And for obvious reasons, these leaders also tend to push hard for ambitious climate deals which will protect the most vulnerable countries.

          Last week it emerged that a third of Pacific small island states and territories do not have any government figures attending COP26, largely due to the quarantine periods they would face on their return to mostly Covid-free nations. This week Reuters reported that just four leaders from these islands — Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu and Palau – will attend COP26. Low-lying Pacific islands are being battered by the climate crisis – not just from rising temperatures and changing weather patterns, but more urgently by rising sea levels which could lead to whole countries being submerged.

          COP26 is seen as a particularly high stakes event because it marks the deadline for the second round of national climate pledges, which are made every five years. It is thus a crucial moment for setting a much needed ramp up in climate ambition. Current climate commitments put the world on track for a 2.7C rise in temperature this century, the UN says, well above the 1.5C target of the Paris Agreement which will already be catastrophic for many Pacific island nation.

          Pacific islands will still have representatives at the conference, but the absence of those higher up in government is important. And they are not the only people who will be missing from COP26. Covid-19 restrictions, long visa processes, soaring hotel prices and changing quarantine policies mean that many would-be delegates have stayed at home. As a result, plans by COP president Alok Sharma for the conference to be “an inclusive summit where all voices are heard” are starting to look more than a little bleak.

          Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh, notes that most of the countries previously on the UK’s red list were the poorest developing countries. While the UK has now lifted the red list category for most nations, which has certainly helped many more to attend the conference, “many will still not make it”, he says.

          The UK’s muddled decisions with regards to its red list have made things even more difficult for some. In response to pushes from civil society groups, the UK offered to cover the costs of the five day quarantine in full (it had already reduced the required hotel stay from ten to five days for COP26 delegates). But Alejandro Aleman, coordinator of the Latin America branch of the influential non-profit network Climate International Network (CAN), says that when the UK then removed 47 countries from the red list in early October, many who had already bought plane tickets were faced with paying for five extra days of accommodation to replace the quarantine period.

          “At least four organisations from CAN Latin America that I know cancelled their participation because they couldn’t afford additional days,” Aleman says. He estimates that around two-thirds of civil society organisation members in Latin America that would usually participate in UN climate talks are not participating in COP26.

          “There have also been hold-ups with visas for delegates to enter the UK. Maria Aguilar, an associate lawyer at the Colombian non-profit Ambiente y Sociedad says she applied for a visa to attend COP26 on July 27 but it only arrived on October 20, a day before her flight. “So the whole planning was filled with uncertainty,” she says. “I could call and write back because I speak English and had a credit card in hand, but I can imagine the trouble of those people that don’t have [these things].”

          A lack of civil society participation from countries vulnerable to climate change will have a significant impact on the outcomes of the conference, says Aleman. For example, CAN Latin America is among those pushing for loss and damage – the irreversible losses to people from climate change such as losing homes or land – to be established as a “pillar of the negotiations”, something many rich countries have strongly resisted.

          In early September, criticisms about COP26 came to a head when CAN called for the conference to be postponed, arguing that “a safe, inclusive and just global climate conference” was now impossible. The UK COP26 Coalition, which backed the call, said time had run out for a “normal and inclusive” conference.

          But many vulnerable countries did not agree, arguing that despite the issues, COP26, which was already delayed by a year due to the pandemic, must go ahead. Aguilar says she believes postponing COP26 in its totality was not an option. “We have seen the damage caused by its postponement due to Covid-19, and the delay of climate action,” she says.

          Meanwhile, many of the richest countries plan to attend COP26 with large delegations. The US – historically a very powerful player at UN talks – will reportedly be sending 13 cabinet members and senior administration officials alongside dozens of other delegates. Conference organisers have been swamped with inquiries from the rich and powerful who plan to attend, according to Politico. “My feeling is that the gap in terms of participation between the powerful countries and the vulnerable ones is increasing,” says Aleman.

          It continues to look likely that China’s Xi Jinping won’t attend the conference, although as president of the world’s biggest emitter you can be pretty sure any messages he has will be passed on. Both Queen Elizabeth and the Pope have cancelled their attendance for medical reasons. And the European Union, while still sending plenty of delegates, has instructed them to avoid social events at the conference due to rising Covid-19 cases in the UK, which are now the second highest globally after the US.

          COPs are by no means the only venue for climate action, but important decisions are made there, and they present crucial opportunities for those most impacted by climate change to have their voices heard. With the world currently on track to exceed 1.5C of warming in around a decade, the absence of the most at-risk nations is something we, and they, can ill afford.”

          What a mess! it looks suspiciously like every effort has been made to discourage vital attendees. Perhaps the COP26 conference should be extended for an electronic attendance COP26.2 for an international internet conference so these attendance caveats can be ironed out and missing delegates become free to attend physically, or if not to attend electronically? Why wasn’t that foreseen by the organisers?

  2. Betrayed by our Government? From your link (which is lifted from the Guardian?):

    “However, FCDO sources told the Guardian the decision had not been made by any UK government department. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat would not be registering delegates from Afghanistan to Cop26 pending further guidance from the Bureau of the Cop, the sources said.

    The six, who have previously worked for either UN programmes, the previous pre-Taliban government in Afghanistan or national environmental bodies in their country, say they are very upset with UNFCCC’s decision to bar them from attending this crucial conference.

    “We are very disappointed with this decision. We have met all the requirements for the visa but the UNFCCC secretariat rejected our nominations without any proper reasons – maybe due to the ongoing political situation in Afghanistan,” said one of the delegates.”

    • Not at all Paul. I supplied the link:

      As you can see, it wasn’t from “The Guardian”. In fact all the Secret Market Report explains that it was The Guardian that asked the original question and reported that “The UNFCCC has not responded to repeated requests by the Guardian to explain the U-turn on the six delegates attending the conference.” That was the quote:

      “We are very disappointed with this decision. We have met all the requirements for the visa but the UNFCCC secretariat rejected our nominations without any proper reasons – maybe due to the ongoing political situation in Afghanistan,” said one of the delegates.

      Another said: “By taking this action the UNFCCC secretariat stifled the voice of millions of Afghan victims of climate change impact. Climate change does not respect borders. They should have not mixed the environment with politics. We were hoping to attend Cop26 to raise the voice of millions of Afghan victims of the adverse impacts of climate change.”

      I actually wrote: “have been betrayed by our governments”. Notice the plural? I deliberately wasn’t specific (and now you can see why) of any particular government, merely that “governments” are collectively culpable for the situation in Afghanistan.

      Or is that disputed as well?

      I included the COP26 organisation because as the Afghanistan environmental experts said,

      “They should have not mixed the environment with politics”.

      The COP26 conference organisers should also not be controlled by unspecified sources for approving the attendance of the six Afghanistan environmental expert delegates. The entire COP26 conference has become, or perhaps already was, a politically controlled display.

      Didn’t you notice that?

      Also from your quote: “However, FCDO sources told the Guardian the decision had not been made by any UK government department. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat would not be registering delegates from Afghanistan to Cop26 pending further guidance from the Bureau of the Cop, the sources said. there is no substantiated source for the excuse. merely FCDO “sources”.

      Notice the plural unspecified sources again? The rest merely confirms what I linked the comment to.

      And what about the Island delegates and an internet conference? I notice that was carefully avoided? or was that the old cherry picking isolation of issues again?

      Never mind, back to the political drawing board.

      Have a nice “All Shallows Eve”!

      • Oh Yes. Nor, I see, did you comment on the suggestion that “ecocide” and “environmenticide” should be made an international criminal offence at the COP26, or COP26.2 internet conference for those not able to attend.

        Funny that.

  3. I assumed you would know my position on that PhilC – “ecocide” and “environmenticide” should not be made an international criminal offence at the COP26, or COP26.2 internet conference for those not able to attend (or any other time)…….it would not be legal, would be unenforceable and waste valuable planet saving time and money.

    Perhaps the Guardian lifted the article from your source? Looks very similar to me?

    With regards to people not attending at least they are not contributing to their own demise by flying long haul?

    COP26 (as with the previous events) are political shows with the Greta and co sideshows. Anything significant that comes out of it has already been agreed.

    • Ahh, But it wasn’t The Guardian was it? “Similar” or not. An interesting fixation with The Guardian though? One of those many attempts at derogatory labelling I guess. So many words to choose from, so many labels to apply rather than mentioning the subject in any detail, or even not at all.

      Maybe the Island delegates would have taken a ship and a train to the CP26 conference if they had been given sufficient time to organise it, not just a few days. But of course an internet COP26.2 conference would solve any gripes you have about that too.

      In any case, with reference to modern Aero Jet Turbines if you look at how modern air turbines operate, most of the fuel is used for take off and landing. Aero Jet Turbines actually run mostly on turbine heated drawn in air,v and use little fuel during flight. But of course the passengers are charged for fuel duty for the entire flight. I posted a link to that fraud years ago. Didnt you look at that?

      As you know, I entirely disagree with you on making ecocide a criminal offence under law. Since an international criminal offence law would tie down environmental and ecological destruction worldwide for once and for all. “Ecocide” and “environmenticide” would indeed be internationally illegal if it was made International law wouldn’t it. Enforcing it would not be difficult either, because the legal summons would be issued direct to the corporations CEO’s and governments.

      Why wouldn’t you support that?

      I assume, you are referring to Greta Thunberg? I didn’t think it would be long before one of the Greta Thunberg obsessives mentioned her name and attempted to make that a derogatory subject? Another name, another derogatory label to apply.
      I was waiting for that.
      Sorry it had to be you that fell down into that particular slippery celebrity trap? I would have expected that from another direction.

      Never mind. The main stream media is already concentrating on their favourite love/hate relationship with Greta Thunberg. It saves them from having to actually mention anything relevant to the COP26 conference.

      Actually I think Greta Thunberg is genuine in what she says and does and why. I used to work with children with ASD and they were invariably distinctly honest to a high degree. The children, Greta thunberg is no longer a child. She is a young adolescent. Were almost too honest to an extreme degree. No matter how disarming that was.

      The usual celebrity build up and knock down click bait, is far from honest, and has all but buried the fact that she has never asked for any of this fame and fortune and still gets annoyed by it.

      Regarding fortune and ecocide, however, by an interesting coincidence. Greta Thunberg, on receipt of the “Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon awarded their annual million euro prize to “distinguishing people and/or organisations worldwide that have stood to the fore in tackling the climate crisis”. The inaugural prize was awarded to climate striker Greta Thunberg.”

      “The Greta Thunberg Foundation will donate the award money to charitable causes, starting with €100,000 to the Stop Ecocide Foundation and to the SOS Amazonia campaign by Fridays for Future Brazil.”

      Greta gives prize money to Stop Ecocide

      Which kind of brings the subject of Greta Thunberg and ecocide to a completely circular argument doesn’t it. Funny that. Well done.

      Always a pleasure Paul.

      Enjoy the festivities?

      [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

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