GLASGOW – More than 100 heads of states and governments from all over the world, including US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron, will take part in the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26), to begin in Glasgow on Sunday.
In the run-up to the conference, about 25,000 people from 196 countries arrived in Scotland’s largest city for the two-week conference, including state officials, journalists, members of non-governmental organizations and businesses. About 10,000 police officers will be on duty to ensure their safety.
COP26 will be of special significance, partially due to the fact that it was postponed by one year amid the coronavirus pandemic, and its organizers admitted that it was hard to squeeze the tasks and agenda of two conferences into one.
Besides, this conference will sum up the results of the five-year cycle, which began when the Paris Agreement on climate change was signed during COP21 in 2015.
The organizers and the host nation are facing a serious challenge of convincing the international community that the deal is working and persuading its participants to undertake new serious obligations. In accordance with the Paris Agreement, this should be done every five years.
In the weeks that preceded the summit, it became known that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin would not attend it in person. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will not travel to Glasgow as well.
Moment of truth
The host of the event, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, called it ‘the moment of truth.’
"The question everyone is asking is whether we seize this moment or let it slip away," he said.
"I hope world leaders will hear them and come to Glasgow ready to answer them with decisive action," Johnson added. "Together, we can mark the beginning of the end of climate change -and end the uncertainty once and for all."
Johnson will fly to Glasgow on Sunday directly from Rome, where he is taking part in the G20 summit.
According to a TASS correspondent, Russia’s delegation to Glasgow, led by Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk, will list about 270 members.
It will include Russian Special Presidential Representative on Climate Issues and presidential adviser Ruslan Edelgeriev, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Alexander Kozlov, Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov and the head of Russia’s Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet), Igor Shumakov.
Other members of the delegation are several deputy ministers, the president’s special envoys, heads of Russian governmental agencies, businessmen and members of non-governmental organizations.
Unlike the United Kingdom, which has set 2050 as the deadline for achieving carbon neutrality (the state of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions), Russia has additional 10 years to do so.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in mid-October that Russia has a "concrete benchmark" for achieving this goal, which is no later than in 2060.
In the run-up to the conference, the Russian leader held a phone conversation with Johnson. The UK prime minister welcomed the steps Russia has taken in recent days to commit net zero by 2060 and expressed his hope that Russia will raise that target to achieving net zero by 2050.
Activists and law enforcement
On the eve of the COP26 summit, the Extinction Rebellion movement held a protest in Glasgow, which gathered about 1,000 activists. Participants arrived from all parts of the United Kingdom, as well as from Europe and even Argentina.
They also plan to stage various events during the entire duration of the summit in a bid to underline the importance of fighting climate change to the international community.
About 10,000 law enforcement officers will be on duty in Glasgow every day, becoming one of the biggest police operations in the entire history of the United Kingdom.
All roads leading to the event’s venue have been cordoned off completely starting from Saturday.
Earlier, the Scottish police force said it was ready to take all possible measures to prevent public order violations, even if they will be frowned upon by the international community. (TASS)