World leaders must return home from COP26 with a “message of hope”, Nicola Sturgeon has said, as Glasgow prepares to host dignitaries from around the globe.
The international climate change conference begins formally on Sunday, with the summit of world leaders starting on Monday.
Around 120 heads of government and state will take part in the two-day summit, but other parts of the COP26 conference will continue until at least November 12.
Earlier, Sturgeon met with people from indigenous communities who had travelled to Glasgow for the conference.
Commenting as world leaders arrived in Glasgow, the First Minister said: “Scotland is welcoming the world to what may be the most important international conference of this century.
“Hosting an international gathering of this scale – during a global pandemic – is an enormous logistical challenge, and I am hugely grateful to all those who have been preparing to keep Glasgow moving and deliver a safe conference for delegates.
“When we look around the world, the effects of climate change are staring us in the face.
“What Al Gore once described as an inconvenient truth has become an inescapable reality – and there is no more time to lose.”
She continued: “Once world leaders are all in the same room, they must seize the moment and agree the necessary steps to prevent catastrophic temperature rises – and when they leave Glasgow, they must return home carrying a message of hope for humanity’s future.
“Scotland may not be at the top table of these negotiations, but I and the Scottish Government will be doing absolutely everything we can to help make this conference a success.”
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the conference would be “challenging because our aims are ambitious”.
He said: “Like any proud Scot, I am humbled and excited that Glasgow will be playing host to such a momentous event.
“The road to facilitating this summit has had its challenges, but if business, Government and the public work together, I am confident we can make this conference a historic success for Glasgow, and the planet.
“The UK is one of the greenest countries in the world, and this huge UN conference will give us the opportunity to lead the way in ensuring the safeguarding of our earth and environment, for generations to come.”
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