Leading Catholic charities have welcomed the decision that Glasgow will host the next UN climate summit, assuming the UK is confirmed as host country as expected.
The two-week climate change conference will be held towards the end of next year at Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus, according to the Scotland Office.
Former energy minister Claire Perry MP, nominated by the UK as COP26 president, said: “As one of the UK’s most sustainable cities, with a record for hosting high-profile international events, Glasgow is the right choice to showcase the UK’s commitment to the environment.
“The UK is a world-leader in emissions reduction, having cut our emissions by over 40 per cent since 1990 – faster than any other G20 country since 2000. And we recently committed to go further, by legislating to reduce our net emissions to zero by 2050.
“In 2020, world leaders will come together to discuss how to protect our planet and set the direction for the years to come. Where better to do so than Glasgow, at the state of the art Scottish Events Campus.”
Britain is expected to co-host with Italy.
Dr Geraldine Hill, advocacy manager for the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), said: “This is a great honour for Scotland and an incredible opportunity to demand the action on climate change we so desperately need.
“At SCIAF we see every day that climate change is driving people deeper into poverty. Many are struggling to survive. Increasingly severe floods, droughts and unpredictable weather are leaving millions of people short of food and water.
“The people of Scotland will have a huge part to play in ensuring world leaders take the action that is needed at the conference. But SCIAF will also ensure that the voices of our partners and others who live in countries facing a climatic catastrophe are heard.
“The fact that this conference is in Glasgow, one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution, only underlines the fact that climate change has been driven by wealthy nations like our own, while those who have done the least to cause it suffer the most.
“It is the time for world’s leaders to live up to the promises they made in the Paris Agreement and commit to ambitious action to prevent a climate breakdown.”
Dr Daniel Hale, head of campaigns at Catholic aid agency CAFOD, said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that hosting this conference would give the UK the chance to set the tone for how the next century will turn out.
“These talks won’t ‘solve’ climate change, but they would put our country in a position to lead the world in properly mobilising the efforts needed to protect our common home, putting the world’s poorest people at the heart of talks and showing how countries which share the greatest responsibility for climate change can rapidly put the policies in place to halt it.
“The work the government does between now and next December will influence whether the history books remember the conference as a turning point in the battle against climate change or another wasted opportunity. Immediately acting on the advice of the IPCC and Committee on Climate Change by restoring forests and making food production more sustainable, as well as ending the madness of spending UK aid on fossil fuels, will indicate how serious the government is about rising to the challenge.”