COP26 is here! Find out how it will affect Glasgow and our branches.

This November, leaders and delegates from nations all over the world will descend on Glasgow for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference – COP26. Following the postponement of the conference in 2020 due to Covid-19, the eagerly anticipated event is now set to take place from 31st October – 12th November 2021 at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) by the River Clyde.

Billed as one of the biggest and most important events in history, it will be the first time that a UK city has hosted a conference of this scale – with more than a hundred world leaders and tens of thousands of delegates and observers set to tackle the next steps on climate change on our very doorstep.

That being said, with an event of this size, residents in Glasgow can expect to experience large levels of disruption over the 12 days – particularly when it comes to transport links. With that in mind, we’ve outlined below what the public can expect and how it will affect our rental branches.

What is COP26?

COP or 'Conference of the Parties' is the 26th annual event where world leaders discuss climate change.

With global temperatures continuing to increase and extreme weather events on the rise, addressing climate change is now an absolute priority for governments across the world. For this conference, 200 countries are being asked for their plans to cut emissions by 2030.

With the Paris Agreement in 2015, they all agreed to make changes to keep global warming to "well below" two degrees (preferably 1.5 degrees) compared to pre-industrial levels, so that we avoid a climate catastrophe.

COP26 will see climate experts, campaigners, policy makers and world leaders debate how to make global progress on climate change and submit their new long-term goals.

When does it take place?

The climate conference takes place from 31st October – 12th November 2021 at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow.

The first two days (1st and 2nd November) will focus on a world leaders’ summit where politicians will put their ideas across for securing a global net zero future.

Why is COP26 so important?

The majority of world leaders will attend COP26 either in person or virtually, which makes it the biggest conference ever held on Scottish soil.

With global temperatures reaching crucial point, it will be an opportunity to see how climate targets are going to be met and what still needs to be done. These commitments made in Glasgow could directly affect our daily lives; for example, whether we drive a petrol or electric car, how we heat our home and more.

At the end of the conference, some form of declaration is expected. Every country will be required to sign up and it could include specific commitments.

How will it impact Glasgow?

COP26 will undoubtedly deliver a long-lasting legacy for the city – it will be a chance to demonstrate to the world what Scotland and the UK are doing to reduce climate change and shift towards a lower-carbon, more inclusive society.

However, the whole city will feel the presence of the event. With over 30,000 delegates expected to contribute to formal events over the twelve-day conference and thousands of campaigners and businesses planning to hold events, network – and hold protests – there is set to be a lot of disruption, particularly on the roads.

Road closures and a map of the city’s road network around the main venue can be seen here, with local traffic management plans to be put in place.

How does it affect our branches?

The event will only affect our Glasgow South Street branch, as this is closest to the COP26 venue. The branch will stay fully open, but it may take longer to get to and from the branch with the security measures that will be in place in the surrounding areas. The Clydeside Expressway is going to be closed from Saturday 23rd October until the 15th November – traffic that would usually use this will be using alternative routes around the area. This means traffic around South Street may be busier than usual and you should factor in longer journey times if collecting or returning a hire vehicle.

If you are worried about COP26 affecting your journey, we do have several other branches within the Glasgow area that could be a good alternative for you.

Map of Glasgow

Will we still run our shuttle bus?

Yes, our shuttle bus will still be operating. However, our normal city centre collection points (e.g. Glasgow Central Station and Queen Street Station) won’t be easily accessible during this time. We ask anyone travelling from Glasgow City Centre to our South Street branch to make their way to Partick train station or Partick underground and we will collect/drop off from this point.

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