NICOLA Sturgeon has said her priority at the COP26 summit will be showing Scotland can lead by example on the climate, rather than promoting Scottish independence to world leaders.

The First Minister spoke to Channel 4 News ahead of the major global conference beginning in Glasgow this Sunday, and stressed the need for a good deal to be agreed.

COP26 is being described as the conference that must deliver on the Paris Agreement and its key pledge to limit global warming to well below 2C or 1.5C to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

READ MORE: Scotland flooding: Drone footage reveals devastating impact in Dumfries

The talks come in the wake of “code red” scientific warnings on the climate crisis and the risk of going over 1.5C of warming, and severe climate-related weather extremes from heatwaves in the US to deadly flooding in Europe and China.

And earlier this week, UN scientists warned the build-up of planet-warming greenhouse gases in the atmosphere had sped up and hit record levels in 2020.

The SNP leader, whose party had a record vote at the Scottish Parliament election earlier this year and are now in government with the pro-independence Greens, faced questions on what she’d be up to during the major talks.

“Scotland’s going to be in the spotlight, isn’t it?” asked journalist Ciaran Jenkins. “And you’re going to get the opportunity to meet world leaders and their delegations.

“Will you be using that opportunity to talk not just about climate change, but to make the case for independence as well?” he asked, referencing Sturgeon’s pledge to hold indyref2 by 2023, Covid permitting.

The National:

“No, look,” she responded. “The focus over the next two weeks is on the climate, is on making sure that anybody who has any responsibility here is using their influence to try to get us to a good deal.

“I don’t think anybody is in any doubt about my support for Scottish independence. But the focus of the next two weeks is about making sure Scotland’s in a position to lead by example.

“Scotland is seen by the UN, by countries around the world, as a global leader. But the bar of global leadership is still not high enough on the issue of climate. The Scottish Government is the co-chair right now of what’s called the Under2 Coalition, bringing state and regional and devolved governments together to make sure we’re maximising our influence. That’s what I’m going to be working as hard as possible to try to do over the duration of this summit.”

The Scottish Government was contacted for comment.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said described prospects of an key goals being met at COP26 as “touch and go”.

Statements from blocs of countries ahead of the talks suggests fault lines along questions over which countries should take what action and how it should be paid for.

READ MORE: Anger as BBC presenter asks Scots journalist about 'rats and plagues' in Glasgow

G20 countries which have not brought forward new or updated plans – or ones that are insufficient – are under pressure from others to increase action.

But leading emerging economies including India and China have pushed back against efforts to get all countries to adopt net zero targets for 2050, saying developed countries should do more.

Meanwhile, countries most threatened by climate change want a “climate emergency pact” that includes finance and a process that sees countries – particularly big emitters – come forward every year with additional ambition.

Incoming COP26 President Alok Sharma has said that all countries he has spoken to want the conference to be a success, but what the outcome of the talks will be – and whether it can be considered successful – remains to be seen.