UK says Queen Elizabeth will attend Cop26 climate conference

Monarch will join other world leaders at November event which will include presence of Pope Francis and Greta Thunberg

Britain's Queen Elizabeth said last month that tackling climate change will mean a change 'the way we do things'. Reuters
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth will attend the UN Climate Change Conference, known as Cop26, in Glasgow in November, organisers confirmed on Friday.

World leaders gathering at the conference will aim to strengthen commitments made in Paris in 2015 aimed at stabilising the planet's climate and look to speed up action to achieve a zero-carbon future by 2050.

During a visit to the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute last month, the Queen met global warming experts and said tackling climate change will mean a change to “the way we do things”.

“It’s very unnatural for us; obviously we’re going to have to change our lives a bit,” she said.

“Nothing can be quite normal again or what we thought.”

Britain has already set ambitious climate change targets, with plans to reduce emissions by 68 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, by 78 per cent by 2035, and be net zero by 2050.

This falls in line with the Paris Agreement temperature goal to limit global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts towards 1.5°C.

Last month, Britain’s international trade minister Graham Stuart said the world is at a “critical point” for climate change and it is vital that a global agreement be struck at the conference.

The UK hopes the conference will force policymakers and investors to work in tandem to address the threat and ensure temperature increases do not exceed 2°C.

This the first time the UK had been given presidency of the Conference of Parties, known as Cop, a decision-making body responsible for monitoring the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The event will be held at the SEC in Glasgow from November 1 to 12, after last year's scheduled conference was cancelled because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The meeting was described by conference president Alok Sharma as humanity’s “last hope” of avoiding catastrophe from climate change.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg also plans to travel to Scotland in November to attend the event, changing her mind about attending hours after the UN published a report this month that emphasised the dire effects of climate change.

The world has a narrow and rapidly closing window to ward off catastrophe caused by climate change, the UN report said, with the target of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels set to be breached in the 2030s. Already, temperatures have soared by about 1.1°C since the 1850-1900 period.

The study says it is already too late to head off some of the effects of global warming, such as melting ice sheets and rising sea levels.

Other key attendees at Cop26 include Pope Francis, whose attendance will depend on his health, Scotland's Roman Catholic bishops said last month.

Updated: August 27, 2021, 3:13 PM