Scotland is ready to play its part in delivering success at COP26, energy secretary Michael Matheson has said.
The Scottish Government has announced details of its COP26 programme, as Matheson said this must be the moment that the world “moves from promises to action”.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will make two keynote addresses this week, setting out the Scottish Government’s ambitions for COP26 on Monday before opening the UN’s Conference of Youth on Thursday.
The COP26 UN climate change conference runs from October 31 to November 12 at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.
The Scottish Government will co-host the Multi-level Action Pavilion in the official Cop Blue Zone to showcase the vital role of states and regions in the international response to the climate crisis.
The pavilion will be opened on November 1 and Scotland will also play a prominent role in the Peatland, Nordic and Cryosphere Pavilions in the Blue Zone.
Matheson said: “Scotland is ready to play its part in delivering success at what will be one of the most important global gatherings of the 21st century.
“This must be the moment that the world moves from promises to action. For COP26 to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, governments at all levels, businesses, civil society and communities need to work together to agree ambitious actions and the finance and resources needed to deliver them.
“Scottish Ministers will participate in events and discussions throughout Cop and we will use our position as co-chair of the Under 2 Coalition to help deliver that ambition, and to demonstrate that global climate action requires ambitious action by governments at all levels.
“This is also a unique opportunity to showcase Scotland to the world – including what our businesses and communities are doing to meet our world-leading climate targets.”
Sturgeon will take part in formal presidency events that will profile the action and ambitions of women, young people and states, and will join the UN High Level Champions to promote the role that can be played by governments at all levels in tackling climate change.
The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise have also joined forces to create Scotland’s Climate Ambition Zone, at the Lighthouse in Glasgow, to showcase the best of Scotland’s innovative low-carbon businesses.
The initiative is described as a “shop window of the best of Scotland’s climate action”, with more than 60 in-person or hybrid events.
Bags of rubbish have been dumped outside of Glasgow City Council as part of a day of action calling for more investment to tackle the city’s “waste crisis”.
Campaigners from the GMB Union and Living Rent held a rally in George Square on Saturday.
They have called for the recruitment of 100 new road sweepers and 100 new refuse collectors, as well as the reduction of agency staff to less than 5%.
They are also calling for an end to the bulk uplift charge and the re-introduction of back court teams.
The rubbish dumped in George Square was collected by action teams from different streets and backcourts in Govanhill, Govan, Partick and Dennistoun, as evidence of what they say is the council’s “neglect”.
Living Rent Dennistoun branch Chair Caroline Robertson insisted that cleansing services and communities need properly funded public services.
She said: “As COP26 approaches and the eyes of the world are on Glasgow, communities in the east end need to make GCC clean up its act and invest in more clenny workers to keep our streets clean.
“GCC ‘sprucing up’ Glasgow and passing responsibility for street cleaning onto communities to impress tourist heads of state is utterly insulting.”
Robertson added: “Clenny workers have been essential before the pandemic, during and will continue to be. They’re fighting an uphill battle to keep streets clean.
“Cleansing services and communities need properly funded public services.
“This isn’t just Glasgow City Council’s problem. If the money isn’t there, then the Scottish Government needs to ensure it is. Glasgow’s MSPs can’t be allowed to pass the buck.”
Parts of Glasgow will start locking down on Saturday ahead of the COP26 United Nations climate conference.
The summit is being held at the Scottish Event Campus on the banks of the River Clyde from October 31 to November 12.
But residents and commuters are being warned to expect delays across the city from this weekend.
So, where are you allowed to go as COP26 takes over Glasgow?
The scale of the event in Glasgow is unprecedented and the council has warned people that roads will be “extremely busy”.
The city’s motorway network – including the M8, M77 and M74 – are all at risk of major congestion.
And the Clydeside Expressway, which normally sees around 100,000 vehicles each day, will be closed between Partick and Anderston from October 23 to November 15.
Official alternative routes involve drivers using some of the busiest roads in the city by going through the Clyde Tunnel, parallel to the Expressway on Dumbarton Road and Argyle Street, or Great Western Road, through Charing Cross.
Stobcross Road, which runs between the Expressway and the SEC, has already been closed due to works, and will not open again until November 21.
Pressure is expected to be diverted on to the A739 Clyde Tunnel, which runs north to south under the river, as well as Paisley Road West, Great Western Road and Dumbarton Road.
The disruption from COP26 comes on top of traffic chaos already being caused by the ongoing repairs to the M8 Woodside Viaduct north of the city centre.
COP26 road closures in full
Congress Road, closed from 6am, October 10, until 6am, November 17.
Congress Way, Finnieston Quay, Tunnel Street, Stobcross Road (section parallel to A814) and Castlebank Street, subject to lane restrictions and closures between October 17 and 23, with full closure from 9pm on October 24 until 6am on November 21.
Clyde Arc (Squinty Bridge) and Lancefield Quay, closed from 9pm on October 23 until 6am on November 15. The roads will be open to service buses only.
Finnieston Street, from Houldsworth Street to Lancefield Quay, closed from 9pm on October 24 until 6am on November 15. Local Access southbound will be maintained until October 28.
Clydeside Expressway, from Partick Interchange to Anderston (Junction 19), closed from 9pm on October 23, until 6am on November 15.
Minerva Street and West Greenhill Place, closed from 6am on October 28, until 6am on November 13, with local access to private carparks maintained.
Glasgow City Council has suspended public access around the venue – the site covering Finnieston and Pacific Quay, Millennium and Bells bridges and a number of paths will be out of bounds from October 21 to November 19.
Access will banned from the following routes:
C93E (Millennium Bridge)
C93F (Bells Bridge)
Part of C93 (Clyde Walkway (North) between Beith Way and Finnieston Street)
Part of C93A (between Finnieston Quay and Minerva Street)
C93C (between the Riverside Museum and Stobcross Road)
Part of C109 (Clyde Walkway (South) at Pacific Quay)
Part of C54A (Expressway Overbridge at Anderston)
Part of C54B (M8 Overbridge at Anderston)
River Kelvin ‘Core Path on Water’ at Kelvin Harbour
Will public transport be running?
The conference will be disrupted by rail strikes after members of the RMT union backed industrial action.
ScotRail workers will strike from November 1 to 12 amid a dispute over pay and conditions.
RMT members on the Caledonian Sleeper service, which is run by Serco, will also strike from October 31 to November 2 and from November 11 to 13.
Sunday train services in Scotland have been crippled for months as workers protest over pay and conditions.
Are tourist attractions open?
Glasgow Life, which runs the city’s culture and leisure venues, is closing six sites to “minimise disruption” during COP26.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Riverside Transport Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art will be closed throughout the conference.
Kelvin Hall will also be closed from October 28 to November 1 and Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls and Tennis Centre will also be shut from October 31 to November 2.
On Saturday, NHSGGC said that over a seven-day period, 32% of the people who attended Queen Elizabeth University Hospital’s emergency department did so with “minor injuries and issues” including sprained ankles, lower back pain, cut fingers and bruising.
Scott Davidson, deputy medical director for NHSGGC, said: “We want to thank all of our staff for their continuing commitment to our patients, their families and their colleagues during this unprecedented time.
“Unfortunately, our emergency departments are still seeing people who do not need to be there, with minor ailments such as dental pain, urinary tract infections, sore throats of less than one day, period pain, cuts and scrapes.
“Attending A&E with these minor conditions not only adds to the pressure facing our staff but also impacts on waiting times.
“We would urge everyone that, unless their condition is life-threatening, they should not attend an emergency department.”
Those in any doubt over who they should contact are being urged to call NHS 24 on 111.
Dr Davidson added: “If necessary you will be given an onward referral to our Flow Navigation Centre Team, who will call you back and undertake a virtual consultation.
“This can be undertaken in your own home and may mean the condition can be treated without you leaving home.
“Should you need to attend an emergency department, the team will instruct you to do so.
“Our partner GP surgeries across the board area are open, and the GP out-of-hours service for urgent problems, over the weekend, can also be accessed by calling 111.
“Pharmacies also have expert knowledge and can advise on minor ailments, or give simple healthcare advice.
“I would like to thank members of the public who have continued to use 111 to access the correct care for their support and understanding during what continues to be a challenging time for everyone.”
Care workers and the GMB trade union rallied outside the Scottish Parliament on Saturday to call for a £15 per hour wage.
Health secretary Humza Yousaf earlier this month announced a pay rise for care staff, taking the minimum remuneration to £10.02 per hour as part of the winter plan for health and social care.
But unions and opposition politicians claimed the cash boost “isn’t nearly enough”.
Addressing the crowd in Edinburgh, GMB general secretary Gary Smith said members in the care sector would “summon the spirit of the Glasgow women’s strike” – which resulted in a historic payout from the council after years of underpaying female workers.
“Pay is the priority in tackling the growing understaffing crisis and lifting the unsustainable pressures not just in social care, but in our NHS too – that’s why we are ‘fighting for fifteen’,” he said.
“We know the prospect of wages just above £10 an hour won’t cut it, and if you want to retain and recruit the people we need then we must value this essential work properly.
“After the awful events of this pandemic and with a bleak winter ahead, the consequences of continuing to neglect these key workers should be crystal clear to everyone.
“But if Government fails to recognise this then we will summon the spirit of the Glasgow women’s strike and start organising for industrial action across the care sector.”
Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie voiced her support for the campaign, and attended the protest with a number of her colleagues.
“The pandemic has left us in no doubt of the incredible work social care staff do day in day out, but applause doesn’t pay the bills,” she said.
“The pitiful pay deal the SNP handed to carers last year is nothing short of disgraceful.
“As staffing shortages push the sector to breaking point, a pay rise is not just the right thing to do – it is the only thing to do.
“If the SNP are serious about building a real National Care Service, they can start by giving the workers at its heart a fair deal and paying them £15 an hour.”
The Scottish Government is consulting on a National Care Service which would bring all publicly owned adult social care services under one body – and could include other areas such as drug and alcohol care and children’s services.