Daily Mail

40,000 delegates at Cop – so many that they need 2 airports!

- By Glen Keogh, Colin Fernandez and Claire Ellicott

MINISTERS were pressed to prove that Cop26 is more than an ‘extravagan­t eco-jolly’ yesterday as it emerged that almost 40,000 delegates are due to attend the summit.

The landmark internatio­nal talks have been snubbed by several world leaders, but their regimes have sent some of the biggest parties.

And as massive numbers travel to Glasgow, private planes have been forced to fly on for another 20 minutes to ‘park’ at a second airport.

Brazil, accused of mass deforestat­ion in the Amazon under Jair Bolsonaro, applied to send 479 people – the largest delegation of any nation – to the talks, although its president was not among those who travelled to Glasgow.

While Vladimir Putin also declined to attend Cop26, Russia applied to send 312 delegates. The UK is represente­d

‘Totally contrary to what this is about’

by 230 MPs, political advisers and strategist­s – as well as Prince Charles, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Sir David Attenborou­gh. The US registered 165 delegates.

A Cop26 spokesman said the UK will be ‘offsetting carbon emissions associated with the event, including internatio­nal travel’, adding that ‘all delegates have been encouraged to consider low-carbon travel options’.

Despite this, several nations’ private planes have dropped off guests in Glasgow before flying less than 40 miles away to another airport.

Aircraft from countries including Cyprus, Egypt, Bolivia and Croatia have made the 25-minute trip from Glasgow to Prestwick Airport – prompting the Scottish Conservati­ves to say the site was being used as a ‘car park for private jets’.

Provisiona­l figures on the total number of delegates, compiled by climate news website Carbon Brief, showed 39,509 registered participan­ts at Cop26. Just over half were applicatio­ns from nation states, with others from NGOs, independen­t ‘observer organisati­ons’ and the media.

The final total, to be released after the summit ends next Friday, could confirm its status as the most well-attended in history.

The Democratic Republic of Congo applied to send a delegation of 337, while Turkey applied for 376 passes, although President Recep Erdogan did not attend. China, the world’s biggest emitter, applied to send just 60 people. Their leader Xi Jinping was not among them.

Labour’s business spokesman Ed Miliband warned yesterday that sending ‘massive delegation­s across the world to make tiny commitment­s is totally contrary to the spirit of what this is supposed to be about’.

Luke Pollard, Labour’s environmen­t spokesman, added: ‘This is a critical conference and you need there to be agreement at the end of it that must include the big emitters. If we get agreement that the 1.5C [global warming] target is alive then every single delegate will have been worth it.

‘But if this is eco-tourism for the big emitters then that is not good for the planet or the possibilit­y of agreement.’ John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘The Government must ensure Cop represents value for money... and not an extravagan­t ecojolly.’ It has been estimated that the summit could cost UK taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds.

Patricia Espinosa of the United Nations said maintaing social distancing had proved difficult given the numbers in attendance.

Hailing the summit’s popularity as a ‘fantastic’ sign, she said: ‘I am surprised at the enthusiasm in the people that have gone to Glasgow.’

 ?? ?? Pleas: Indigenous groups from across the globe march in Glasgow yesterday
Pleas: Indigenous groups from across the globe march in Glasgow yesterday

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