Next year’s UN climate summit will be held in Glasgow, the UK government announced on Friday, assuming the country wins in its bid to host the annual conference.
The Scottish city was chosen “to showcase the diverse culture and world-leading innovation that the UK has to offer,” the government said in a press release, adding that it expects some 30,000 delegates and up to 200 world leaders to attend.
The British and Italian governments have agreed to partner on a proposal to co-host the 2020 talks, clearing the way for the UK to host the main two-week summit, known as COP26.
Under the UNFCCC’s five-year rotating COP hosting system, the talks are due to return to Western Europe in 2020 after they were held in Paris in 2015.
The UNFCCC’s roughly 200 member countries are expected to vote on the pair’s proposal at this December’s COP25 summit in Santiago, Chile.
If successful, the UK said the event would be held at the state-of-the-art Scottish Events Campus (SEC), with events across the country leading up to it as part of a “‘Four Nations’ UKCOP”. The government said it would be the largest summit ever hosted by the UK.
The decision to select Glasgow may be seen as a goodwill gesture by the UK government, with the relationship between London and Scotland souring by rising expectations of a no-deal Brexit.
Scotland voted to remain in the EU, and a poll this week found a majority of Scots would now vote to break away from the UK in a new independence referendum.
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The exact dates for COP26 have not been confirmed by the UK government, but according to the UNFCCC calendar, the conference is scheduled to take place from Nov. 9-20, 2020.
Presiding over it will be Claire Perry, who recently stepped down as UK Minister for Energy and Clean Growth to focus on her role as the UK’s nomination for COP26 President.
Italy, which had also been vying to host before forming a pact with the UK, will organise a pre-COP event in the weeks before the main summit – in a city yet to be named.
With no other European nations offering to host, leaving only Turkey still in the running, observers said it was all but certain that the UK-Italian proposal would be supported by the majority of nations.
The 2020 talks are expected to provide a platform for countries to raise the ambition outlined in their NDCs, following this September’s New York summit convened by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, which is aimed at encouraging countries to start stepping forward with upgraded climate action strategies.
By Mike Szabo – firstname.lastname@example.org