CLIMATE activist Greta Thunberg now hopes to attend the COP26 conference in Glasgow after the UK Government agreed to vaccinate delegates.
The summit, due to take place in Glasgow in November, has been labelled the last, best chance to salvage efforts to limit global warming below potentially irreversible levels.
A report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published yesterday, warned that it is “unequivocal” that human activity is warming the planet, causing rapid and widespread changes to land, atmosphere and oceans that are unprecedented for many centuries or even many thousands of years.
The document added that global warming of 1.5C and 2C – limits countries have committed to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change – will be exceeded in the 21st century unless drastic action to bring about deep reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions occur in the coming decades.
The IPCC publication stresses that catastrophe can averted if carbon emissions are significantly reduced on a global scale – setting out the need for “limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions.”
Hopes of a way forward are being pinned on COP26, being hosted by the UK Government.
Ms Thunberg had initially said she was not planning to travel to Glasgow to attend COP26 amid worries over the safety of the event taking place during a global pandemic and the uneven rollout of global vaccinations.
Last week, the Herald revealed that many activists from developing countries faced being excluded from the conference – blamed on tough Home Office rules over visas from some countries.
Last night, the UK Government announced that restrictions on travel to the UK and rules on quarantine and self-isolation will be reduced for delegates.
It was also confirmed that there will be strict testing protocols in place, including regular testing for all those attending the summit.
Delegates will also have to sign a charter agreeing to abide by the protocols for the summit.
COP26 officials said full vaccination for the two week-long summit was strongly encouraged, and the UK had offered vaccines to registered delegates who would not be able to get jabbed by other means.
In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Ms Thunberg confirmed she was now hoping to make an appearance at COP26.
She said: “I’ve said before that I wasn’t going to go if it wasn’t fair.
“But now they say that they will vaccinate all the delegates that are going there.
“If that’s considered fair and safe, then I will hopefully attend.”
The 18-year-old also said she hoped the IPCC report will act as “a wake-up call, in every possible way” for world leaders.
She added: “When these extreme weather events are happening, many say, what will it take for people in power to start acting? What are they waiting for?
“And it will take many things, but especially, it will take massive pressure from the public and massive pressure from the media.”