The COP26 UN Climate Change Conference gets underway in Glasgow this weekend. The summit will bring interested parties from around the globe together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
This is a huge event and means that the eyes of the world will be on Glasgow and Scotland. The hope must be that the summit can help us to speed up efforts to achieving a net-zero economy. However, ahead of the event the focus has been on the Scottish Government’s lack of preparation on the potential impact of COP26 on our NHS, as well as industrial action on our railways and among Glasgow’s refuse workers. These local problems should not overshadow such an important conference.
Last month Anas Sarwar unveiled plans for a Scottish Energy Transition Commission to outline how Scotland can protect and create highly skilled jobs in the transition to a net-zero economy. The commission, which is chaired by former Energy Minister Brian Wilson, will support the development of Scottish Labour’s energy policy and advise on how the transition to net-zero can deliver for the working people of Scotland.
It will look at the failures of the current energy market – which has led to spiking prices this winter – the role of public energy companies and Scotland’s energy mix, including nuclear power. Following years of out-sourcing and job losses, the commission will examine how best to ensure that the transition to green energy can deliver jobs and prosperity. The commission will also make recommendations on what a Glasgow Agreement emerging from the COP26 conference could look like for the people of Scotland.
Global understanding of the scale of the climate crisis facing us has never been greater than it is now. I hope that all governments and delegates at COP26 will demonstrate the political ambition and will required to truly tackle the crisis.