UN climate talks overshadowed by UK-Scotland tensions

Glasgow: Rising security costs, lack of planning and tensions between Scottish nationalists and the British government have cast a shadow of uncertainty over the UN’s COP 26 climate change summit.

Some 30,000 people, including 200 world leaders, are expected at the 10-day conference in Glasgow in November for crucial talks to halt rising global temperatures.

The Scottish Police Authority, however, has voiced concern at the cost of securing the event, putting the bill at an estimated £250 million ($325 million, 300 million euros).

In a briefing paper, it said it was worried about a “lack of clarity” about plans and “the current lack of governance coordination” between London and Edinburgh.

It warned that as a result, costs were only “indicative, and will be subject to internal validation and independent security and financial assurance work between now and March 2020”.

The publication of the paper comes just weeks after Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson sacked former energy minister Claire O’Neill as COP 26 president, and her explosive response.

In a letter last month, she said strained relations between the UK government in London and the devolved administration in Edinburgh led by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had hit planning.

“I am told by COP unit sources that budgets (which I do not see) are ballooning, the team and the Scottish government are in an extraordinary state of stand-off and that you are considering relocating the event to an English location,” she wrote. – AFP