What you missed on the first day of the Cop26 summit

Rundown of events at global climate summit in Glasgow on Sunday

Police patrol the River Clyde in Glasgow on Saturday, the venue for the Cop26 gathering. AFP

The Cop26 summit began in Glasgow on Sunday. Here’s what happened:

President takes the seat

UK politician Alok Sharma officially assumed the role of Cop26 president, taking the gavel and presiding duties from Chile’s Carolina Schmidt Zaldivar, with a warning that the conference was the last best chance to keep global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Mr Sharma said the world would succeed or fail as one, as he urged countries to make Glasgow the conference that delivered on commitments to curb warming made in the global Paris climate accord, agreed to in 2015.

The heat is on

As the conference opened, the World Meteorological Organisation warned that the past seven years have been the hottest on record, with sea levels rising to new highs and climate-related destructive weather in 2021.

This year is likely to have been the fifth to seventh hottest year on record, due to the 'La Nina' weather phenomenon in the Pacific, which has a cooling effect on global temperatures.

But the world still averaged 1.09°C above pre-industrial levels.

Covid-19 precautions

The conference, delayed a year by the pandemic, is a Cop like no other, due to the continuing threat of Covid-19.

Delegates must wear masks, observe social distances and take daily lateral flow tests before attending.

There are also room capacity limits and access to the overall venue could be limited at busy times.

Holding the conference while the pandemic continues has raised concerns from some quarters about access and transparency, but Mr Sharma has said it is important to hold direct negotiations among countries.

About 21,238 party delegates, 13,834 observers and 3,823 media representatives have registered for the conference.

Tree blocks rail from London

Hundreds of passengers hoping to travel to Glasgow were left stranded at London’s Euston station after a fallen tree halted rail services.

Many others were caught on slow-moving or stationary trains, or forced to book domestic flights to reach the summit.

Travellers acknowledged the irony of being delayed by extreme weather and said it was both “inconvenient” and a reminder of the effects of climate change.

Youths plan to sail in

Choosing another route to get to the summit, Greenpeace vessel the Rainbow Warrior is planning to sail up the River Clyde carrying youth strikers from communities most hit by climate change to demand world leaders “stop failing us”.

The group said it had been warned by port authorities not to sail up the Clyde to the conference, but it would still attempt the journey, arriving on Monday afternoon.

Name written in ice

A glacier in Antarctica has been formally named after the city of Glasgow to mark its hosting of Cop26.

The Glasgow Glacier is one of nine areas of fast-flowing ice in the Getz basin in the west of the continent to be named after locations of major climate treaties, conferences and reports.

Updated: November 1st 2021, 8:46 AM