Around 25,000 delegates descended on Scotland’s largest city to discuss climate change with world leaders, members of the Royal Family and experts in the business industry. Speaking on BBC Question Time, Telegraph columnist Tim Stanley, 39, said it was “disgusting” to see leaders travel by jet and in platoons of motorcades.
He said: “It’s disgusting and the conference should have been as virtual as possible, politicians are going to ask us to make very significant sacrifices in the next few years, if they are still flying to a climate conference by the way in a middle of a pandemic, that looks absolutely appalling.
“If they are going to try and persuade us the ordinary people to adjust our lifestyles, to meet their ambitions, it’s about time they started to do it as well.”
A Question Time audience member in Eastleigh joined Mr Stanley in criticising the way in which world leaders arrived at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
They said: “The politicians that are attending this conference, they are flying from all over the world, the American President landed in Air Force One, he had many limousines to take him to the actual conference, how is that helping climate change.”
In a separate exchange, another audience member accused politicians, including Rishi Sunak, of using the UN’s climate summit as a photo opportunity.
“One of the issues I have is that the politicians making these pledges aren’t backed by anything, they are weak promises,” he said.
“The problem we have is that a lot of leaders are using this as a photo opportunity.
“The Chancellor, for example, with bringing his own green box.
“A few weeks ago with his budget box which was a different colour, he was cutting the tax on domestic flights.
However, the Telegraph columnist added he was feeling “positive” about COP26 as he hopes commitments to deliver on climate change can build momentum in the future.
He said: “I am feeling quite positive about COP what it has done is come up with some deadlines and goals, that might be a little bit disappointing, but the point is they push the world in a certain direction, once we begin to invest most critically into private investment and technology, that direction will develop momentum.”
Stanley continued: “So just because a country’s target isn’t ambitious, or it’s a long way off, it does matter of course it would be better if it was sooner, but because they’ve set that target they are going to develop towards it, we run into two problems, one is that developing world is not going to wish to give up growth, that the developed world has enjoyed, so we have got to find some way of handling that.”
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The pledge requires countries to end investment in coal power plants, increase green power and phase out coal power in major economies during the 2030s and for other countries in the 2040s.