IT’S been billed as the world’s “best last chance” to tackle climate change – with warnings the outcome of the COP26 summit in Glasgow will be “life or death” for millions of people.

Ahead of the United Nations meeting getting under way, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday met with indigenous peoples from the Americas who arrived in the city.

She took part in a ceremonial event with the delegates at the international arts space Tramway, which is hosting the Minga Indigena Summit to represent indigenous communities during COP26. Sturgeon said: “I’m delighted to welcome the Minga Indigena to my home city for COP26.

“As representatives of indigenous peoples and the Global South, they have an important message to convey on behalf of those least responsible for the global climate emergency, who are often first and most severely affected by its consequences.

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“While Scotland is not at the negotiating table, my pledge is that the Scottish Government will do everything and anything we can to ensure their message is heard as part of a successful COP26, alongside the doubling of our world-first climate justice fund for the world’s poorest and more vulnerable communities.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described COP26 as the “world’s moment of truth”, and urged leaders to use the summit to bring about an end to climate change.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who worked in the oil industry before being ordained, warned radical action is needed but said there is still time to “save our world from the worst of the catastrophe”.

He said: “The COP26 climate talks are emergency surgery for our world and its people.

“The outcome will be life or death for millions of people. That’s how seriously we must take this moment.

In other developments yesterday, Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater received a positive Covid-19 result just hours before COP26 was due to begin, meaning she will have to self-isolate and miss events at the summit.

Experts say COP26 in Glasgow will be focused on “writing the rule book” rather than announcing major new landmark agreements.

The UN summit in Paris in 2015 led to a historic legally binding international treaty aimed at limiting global warming.

This year’s COP marks the fifth anniversary of that agreement – as it was delayed by the pandemic – and discussions in Glasgow will be around nailing down the details of how this can be achieved, tackling tricky issues such as the rules around carbon markets and climate finance.

Dr Patrick Bayer, senior lecturer in International Relations at the University of Strathclyde, said COP26 would differ from the Paris meeting as the aim is not to find another international agreement.

“A board game analogy is that the Paris Agreement set what the objectives of the game are,” he said.

“But then for each board game you would have different sets of rules in terms of how you go about trying to achieve that goal.

“This is more or less what is going to happen at this COP.

“This is writing the rules for how do we get from where we are right now in 2021, to where we want to be – ie ideally only 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, in terms of global temperatures, by 2050.

“These rules obviously need to be agreed and then going to be agreed at a technical level in Glasgow.”

Bayer said there could be a “mismatch” between the current buzz and expectations ahead of the conference happening in Scotland, compared to what will happen when the discussions actually get underway.

“There is a lot of boring technical details in a sense that is going to be negotiated over those two weeks in the conference,” he added.

One key issue which could spark disagreement is he setting rules for carbon markets – which would allow countries to receive ‘credit’ for reducing emissions above and beyond their targets, which could then be sold to countries which haven’t met the requirements.

Another is the question of funding to help developing countries to go green. A delivery plan was published last week by the UK outlining how developed countries will meet a $100 billion climate finance goal, which was first set in 2009 - but there is still a question over whether this will be achieved.

Bayer said judging how successful COP26 has been is a “tricky issue”.

“A lot of the stuff is technical which is not too sexy in a sense,” he said.

“If we get some breakthrough on issues of this rule book about carbon markets, about loss and damages, about climate finances - some of those things getting agreed, that would be a major step on an operational basis.”

More than 100 world leaders are expected to attend the conference, including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Concerns have been raised that major players such as China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, will be among those not attending.

However Bayer said the bigger question is over the countries which are unable to attend because, for example due to financial or covid reasons.

He added: “I am really more worried about the COP excluding some of those players from developing and climate-vulnerable countries, that would suffer big negative consequences from climate impact.

“I think not having their voices heard is obviously an issue.”

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Former UN official Rachel Kyte, Dean of the Fletcher School, Tufts University in Massachusetts, US, said: “The Paris COP was very much about galvanizing the world’s governments to agree that we needed to halt warming at ‘well below 2°C’– now reframed by the science to 1.5°C.

“Glasgow is the world coming together to ensure that we are on track and if we are falling short, to raise our ambition.

“It’s a roll up our sleeves and agree to do more, more quickly.

“The negotiations are between governments, but businesses and civil society can create an atmosphere of ‘we can do this’ or ‘you expect you to agree this’.

“But while young people were a growing force in Paris, today their strikes, organising and withering critique of the lack of speed and scale in climate action, is a real force that can be felt throughout the negotiating halls.”