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Glasgow City Council


Glasgow, the city of our times

What is COP26?

The United Nations Climate Change Conference is the foremost global forum for discussions on climate change.

COPs advance work on multi-lateral agreements, assess the progress of global efforts to limit global warming and provide a focus on a common way forward to tackle the realities of climate change.

The 26th Conference of the Parties was the most significant COP since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, as nations reviewed their emissions targets. Five years ago world leaders committed to an historic agreement to tackle climate change. They agreed to keep global mean temperature rises well below 2 ℃ and to strive to limit the rise to 1.5 ℃.

Made up of international negotiations, global civil society activity and activists, COP26 was the biggest and most complex event ever staged in Scotland, with the largest gathering of Heads of State ever to happen in the UK.

COP26 ran from 31 October - 12 November 2021 at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC)

Having grown steadily over the past two decades the COP conferences are now the largest meetings convened by the UN, and Heads of State and high-level government officials regularly attend as well as tens of thousands government delegates, representatives of civil society, intergovernmental (IGOs) organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international media.

The COP26 Presidency Programme showcased momentum from the whole of society, and focused on key issues to drive ambition and action. Available to view here.

Read more about the negotiations 

Read about the outcomes of COP26 - The Glasgow Climate Pact

In addition to the main negotiations hundreds of meetings and social gatherings also took place during the period of the COP. The whole city felt its presence.

For more information:

COP26 Explained 

Why Glasgow?

Glasgow was chosen by the UK to host COP26 due to its experience in hosting world class events, commitment to sustainability and first-rate facilities.

Recently awarded the status of Global Green City, we have an ambitious target of achieving net zero carbon by 2030.

The city is also currently ranked 4th in the world in the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) that promotes responsible business tourism best practice.

Energy, low carbon and sustainable conferences are regularly in the top three key sectors for conferences in the city.

The council's role in supporting COP26 was to help deliver a safe and successful conference. As the world turned to Glasgow,  wthe city provided a welcoming and safe environment for delegates, visitors, businesses and residents.

Glasgow's Sustainable Ambition

The city's partners are committed to making Glasgow one of the most sustainable places in Europe, where a high quality of urban life and green business practices generating sustainable profits go together. Glasgow was one of the foremost cities of the first global industrial revolution and now it is forging a new economy in the middle of the green revolution.  

This is drawing upon the city's native spirit of innovation, partnership and entrepreneurialism - and it needs the active participation of a strong public sector and engaged business community. The city wants to see both green and inclusive economic growth so that sustainability and social justice are hallmarks of Glasgow's message to the world and its offer to residents, businesses and investors. 

The council declared a climate and ecological emergency for the city in May 2019 and then published the recommendations of its Climate Emergency Working Group. A summary of the climate emergency recommendations and a copy of the full report can be accessed here     

The key ambition is for the city to reach net carbon zero by the year 2030. This is a journey that needs all partners to work together across public, private, academic and community sectors - with significant challenges around decarbonising heat and transport in particular.  

The Leader of the Council has therefore re-launched the Sustainable Glasgow partnership, which will act as the shared means of delivering a collective effort to achieve a greener Glasgow.

Cities are where the move to a more sustainable future will be delivered - due to the concentration of population. In recognising this Glasgow has partnered with a number of prominent cities with a common cause.

To achieve a 'just transition' we must manage change positively in an equitable way and prepare for our move to a cleaner, greener economy and society, leaving no one behind.

Hosting COP26 has added momentum to our existing ambitions and challenged us to do better. It has given us a platform to highlight our progress now and beyond the Conference.

COP26 Host City Volunteers

More than 10,000 people applied to volunteer COP26, with many eager to provide participants and media visiting from nations and territories around the world with the famous warm Glasgow welcome.

This number was whittled down and around 1,000 friendly volunteers took to the streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh, during the event, helping delegates and visitors get around and providing thousands of people with a welcome filled with enthusiasm and warmth.

Stationed at transport hubs and active travel routes, including Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen stations, key shuttle bus stops, and the conference's Host City Zone at City Chambers and Green Zone at Glasgow Science Centre, the passionate volunteers were out in force from 25 October to 12 November.

Spanning from 16 up to 78 years old, the proud volunteer force hailed from a broad range of backgrounds and were united by their passion for the environment and pride for their city.

Although born in 68 different countries around the world, the volunteers were mainly local, with more than 40% living in Glasgow and more than 95% living in Scotland.

Youngsters were also keen to get involved, with a third under the age of 26 and a fifth using the conference as an opportunity to volunteer for the first time.

Around a quarter of the volunteers could confidently speak the official UN languages of Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish, alongside English.

Motivated by the chance to play a part in the milestone international event, gain valuable life and career experience, learn new skills, meet new people, have fun and feel part of a diverse yet like-minded community, the volunteers have been looking back on their experience with fondness.

Shuttle hub volunteer Harjot Singh Kambo, from Clarkston, said: "I'm very grateful to have played a small part at COP26 in Glasgow, supporting the city which raised my family. Braving the November chill, I made new, kind friends and cracked jokes with the bus drivers along the way. We helped delegates from all over the world with a smile and spread awareness about the wellbeing of our planet in the process.

"It's not everyday you get to fist-bump a Kyrgyzstan official or have some banter with a Solomon Island diplomat! Although it was gloomy outside, it was important to stay warm and sunny on the inside with, of course, our distinct bobble hats to match! I will always remember when the world came to Glasgow, united together in this global challenge."

Green Zone volunteer Rachel Irwin, originally from Liverpool, has been living in Scotland for five years and decided to get involved. She said: "I volunteered at COP26 because Glasgow has become my home and it's nice to be involved in something that's unique to the city and make the most of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved in COP in some way.

"The highlight for me - amongst meeting well-known people - is getting to know the other volunteers. It's a diverse group of people who I wouldn't get to meet in my daily life. It's also a really nice feeling and heartening to see how many people care about climate change and have come together to take action."

Leader of Glasgow City Council, Councillor Susan Aitken said: "I would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations and a big thank you to all of our volunteers who went above and beyond to give up their time to play their part in COP26. The volunteers' smiles and enthusiasm warmed up the city's streets this November and I hope it was a rewarding and memorable experience that they can look back on with pride."

COP26 President, Alok Sharma, said:"COP26 is one of the most important events ever held in the UK and I am hugely grateful for the dedication shown by the volunteers who generously gave up their time to support this conference.

"It has been incredible to see people from such a wide range of ages and backgrounds unite in their enthusiasm for protecting the planet, and brave all weathers to welcome everyone to COP26. I know their positive attitude and warmth has made a difference to all those attending the conference."

Volunteers could be identified by their vibrant sustainable uniforms, complete with snug bobble hats. They can now keep their uniforms as a memento of their volunteering experience or drop the items back to the volunteer team, where they will be donated to a local homeless charity or sent to be shredded to generate clean energy power.

Anyone interested in volunteering in Glasgow can visit to find out about available opportunities.

COP26 Host City Zone

Throughout COP26, the City Chambers was a prominent focal point to welcome the world. The COP26 Host City Zone built on Glasgow's sustainability ambitions and acted as a hub that allowed the host city to engage with a wide range of partners from across the world as well as other cities and city networks. 

The council worked with groups and organisations including Bloomberg, C40 city network tackling climate change, Core Cities UK, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, faith and third sector groups to work up a programme of policy meetings, receptions and events that complimented the main COP26 programme. This activity is an important legacy opportunity for Glasgow and it will also help reinforce the city's position as a world leader in the race to net zero and a place where green business can be done. The groups that the council engaged with to produce a programme within the Host City Zone is listed below.

Adaptation Scotland

Association of British Insurers

Bloomberg Philanthropies

British Council

C40 cities

Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance


Cities of Aarhus and Pittsburgh

Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance


Connected Places Catapult

Construction 21 awards

Core Cities


Dark Matter Labs

Ellen Macarthur Foundation

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

Glasgow Citizens' Assembly

Glasgow City of Science & Innovation

Glasgow schools

Glasgow Social Enterprise Network

Global Resilient Cities Network

Greater Manchester Combined Authority


Indigenous peoples and First Nations representatives

Interfaith Glasgow


LEAF Coalition

Local Government Associations for England, Wales and Northern Ireland

London Boroughs

Mayors Alliance for a European Green Deal

Mental Health Foundation

Nourish Scotland


POLIS transport network

Prospect Trade Union

Royal Society of Arts

Scottish Cities Alliance

Scottish Government

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland

Sustainable Scotland Network

Third Sector Interface


UN Women

Get Involved

People Make Glasgow Greener

Hosting COP26 has given us a unique opportunity to make real progress towards our ambition of becoming one of the most sustainable cities in Europe. We all have a part to play. We can enjoy safer streets, cleaner air and warmer homes if we all act now. Together, we can help to make Glasgow a greener city and build better lives and a better future for everyone.

Visit People Make Glasgow Greener

Together for our Planet - the UK's year of climate action.

The UK Government launched Together For Our Planet, a campaign aimed at engaging the whole country in the conversation around climate change in the lead-up to and after COP26.

The UK hosted the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 with our partners Italy in November 2021 to bring together world leaders to commit to urgent global climate action.

But each of us has a part to play. That's why we will continue to work closely with businesses, civil society groups, schools and people across the UK as part of our on-going conversation on tackling climate change.

We cannot afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. We must work together to protect our planet and people and ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all.

#OneStepGreener will showcase how people from all over the UK are already doing their bit on climate change, from the engineers working on the offshore wind farms now powering our homes and businesses, to local initiatives encouraging children and parents to walk to school. We want to celebrate them and inspire more to join them. Our intention is to create a mass movement of green steps across the country in the lead up to COP26, showing how small actions culminate in large collective action.

Keep up to date on the latest from COP26 and sign up for the newsletter.

Make your action count and inspire others to do their bit by sharing what you are doing using #TogetherForOurPlanet on social media and joining others through the Count Us In campaign.

Race to Zero

Race To Zero of which Glasgow is a member - is a global campaign to rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions, investors and universities for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.

The campaign invites business from every corner of the UK to join the #RacetoZero with the aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 at the very latest.


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