US Election: Joe Biden may make an appearance at Glasgow's COP26 climate crisis talks

Scottish politicians have welcomed US president-elect Joe Biden to Scotland’s ‘dear green place’ for next year's COP26 conference in November.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The biggest international summit the UK has ever hosted is set to take place in the SEC on Clydeside.

Cop26 will bring together over 30,000 delegates including heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.

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Already, Scottish politicians are extending a welcoming hand to Joe Biden who won the US electoral vote last week.

Reacting to Biden's election win on Twitter, Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said she was ‘looking forward’ to welcoming Joe Biden to Glasgow in a year's time, noting that he should ‘bring a waterproof!’

Democrat Biden alongside his elected Vice-President, Kamala Harris have made it clear that their administration will focus on climate change as they have already sworn to commit to a $2 trillion Green Stimulus plan, a 2050 Net Zero target, and to re-join the Paris Agreement which Donald Trump’s administration left this month.

Five days ago, Mr Biden tweeted: “Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.”

COP26 was originally meant to take place this month, however it was delayed by a year due to the pandemic and will now run from November 1 to November 12, 2021.

The UK Government is the official host of the event and Boris Johnson is expected to play a prominent role.

Biden’s climate focus has sparked excitement in Glasgow’s City Chambers as its leader prepares to welcome Mr Biden into the environmentally conscious fold.

Ms Aitken tweeted last week: “Looking forward to welcoming you to Glasgow for #COP26 in a year’s time @JoeBiden. Bring a waterproof!”

Speaking about Mr Biden’s engagement with climate change, Cllr Aitken went on to say: “I think everyone heard both the President and Vice President-elect put science and climate change firmly at the forefront of their policy agenda when they spoke in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“The prospect of an America that is fully engaged and committed to international action can only raise the level of anticipation that already exists around the world for discussion, co-operation and agreement in Glasgow next year.

“Glasgow is an internationalist, global city and we are committed to our own ambitious target for carbon neutrality by 2030. We are joined by other cities, across the world, in urging urging national governments to do everything in their power to ensure that the pledges in the Paris agreement actually translate into action to lower global temperatures.

Excitement seems to reaching further afield than Glasgow with Richard Leonard, leader of the Scottish Labour party, telling the Daily Record that the Scottish Government should now formally invite Mr Biden to attend the event in 2021.

Mr Leonard told The Record: "Joe Biden's victory has given many Scots hope that we can move on from the disastrous policies of the last four years, including Donald Trump's decision to pull America out of international agreements to tackle climate change.

"With the United Nations' COP26 climate change summit due to take place in Glasgow in November 2021, we have a real opportunity to reach out to President-Elect Biden, who has already signalled his intention to fully reengage with America's international allies in this critical policy area.

"If covid safety rules allow it, an invitation should be made immediately to the incoming president to join the Cop 26 summit in Glasgow."

Scottish Conservatives also want to welcome Joe Biden to Scotland.

Liz Smith, shadow environment spokesperson for the Conservatives said: "When the UK government hosts world leaders in Glasgow next year, everyone's focus will be on securing solutions to the immense environmental challenges we face.

"We look forward to welcoming Joe Biden to Scotland as leader of the world's foremost economic power and our oldest ally."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said last week she welcomed the commitment of Biden and his Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris to "multilateral cooperation on the many challenges faced by countries across the world, from COVID-19 to climate change."

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