PM Boris Johnson has pushed for the union flag and Westminster to take centre stage at the COP26 climate change summit that will be coming to Glasgow in 2020, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon should not be “anywhere near” it.
The UN’s COP26 meeting will discuss the international response to climate change. Around 30,000 delegates - including over 200 world leaders - will descend upon Glasgow in December 2020, making it the largest international summit to be hosted by the UK. The meeting, set under the careful watch of the UN, could well decide the direction of the global eﬀort to avert the climate crisis.
The UK was confirmed for hosting duties - alongside Italy - earlier this year, but during a recent Tory party conference, Johnson was filmed pushing for the Union flag to be rolled out at all Westminster funded policies and events, wherever they take place;
“I don’t mind seeing a Saltire or two on that summit, but I want to see a Union flag – I don’t want to see Nicola Sturgeon anywhere near it, because the Scottish Nationalist Party [sic] didn’t secure that summit in Glasgow, it was the United Kingdom Government.”
In response to Johnson’s remarks, Nicola Sturgeon’s spokesman said the public should be “deeply embarrassed” by Boris, accusing the Prime Minister of acting “childishly”, and touted the benefits of hosting the event in Scotland;
“It is right that the COP26 conference should come to Scotland given our leadership in climate action,” Sturgeon said. “We were one of the first countries in the world to acknowledge the global climate emergency and the Scottish Government has introduced the toughest targets in the UK to ensure our action matches the scale of our climate ambitions.”
Sturgeon’s response was supported over Twitter by Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse, who believes Scotland is the only logical place to host the upcoming summit.
“The real truth behind the pompous, arrogant, unelected & anti-democratic Prime Minister’s bluster is he knows he’d be embarrassed by his own Government’s weaker record on the #ClimateEmergency when contrasted with that of Scotland’s First Minister & our Scottish Government,” Wheelhouse tweeted.
Scotland has a history of progressive environmental policies. The world-leading Climate Change Act of 2009 set the ambitious - and legally binding - target of reducing Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent in 2050.
However, since re- election in 2015, the Conservative government has systematically dismantled a number of policies under the Climate Change Act and has increased public spending on fossil fuels.
Wheelhouse said Johnson’s words sent a strong message to the international community about Scotland’s place in the Union.
In another Tweet, Wheelhouse continued to disagree with Johnson.
“However, [Boris Johnson] inadvertently sent a powerful message to the international community, incl. @UN itself, our partners in @ClimateGroup & #Under2Coalition, @WWFScotland/International NGOs, about progressive Scotland’s treatment within UK & our case for a seat of our own [at] the table,” Wheelhouse tweeted.
Johnson has yet to respond to the claims.