WE live in truly historic times. Rarely in the modern era have we been faced with an accumulation of so many matters of pressing importance. It’s hard to overstate the significance of the Supreme Court decision that suspending parliament was unlawful, on top of the rapidly approaching deadline for the UK to leave the European Union, deal or no deal. These events will have consequences for everyone on these islands.

But in the last few days we have again been reminded of the truly global issue of our times, the climate emergency.

On Friday, millions across an estimated 185 countries demanded urgent action to cut emissions and stabilise the climate. In Glasgow, thousands of young people took part in a noisy, colourful, passionate and really good natured demonstration on behalf of people from across the world. For the first time adults joined the protests, with millions, from Scotland to the Solomon Islands, leaving their workplaces to lend their voices.

Then on Monday the inspirational Greta Thunberg addressed the United Nations’ climate summit, during which 60 nations announced plans to reduce greenhouse gases to zero.

As UN scientists reveal that ice in the Arctic and Antarctic is melting at a much faster rate than previously thought – potentially displacing hundreds of millions of people from coastal areas and even reducing drinking water supplies – we would do well to heed the warnings of this Swedish teenager.

It’s in this context that Glasgow next year hosts the UN’s Conference of the Parties, or COP26 as it is known, a gathering of the world’s leaders to push forward global efforts to reduce emissions.

This will be the biggest event ever staged in Scotland, bringing together 170 countries, most of whom will be represented by their heads of state. A staggering 22,500 people will take part over all.

Of course, our name wasn’t plucked from a hat. We secured the leading role on the world stage because of Glasgow’s growing international reputation, our track record in hosting major events, the flexibility and scale of the SEC and the accessibility of Glasgow, within Scotland and beyond.

We also have this opportunity because the strides made by Glasgow in reducing emissions, our progressive targets and sustainability achievements and our willingness to work in partnership to deliver a better future is being recognised. Given our post-industrial legacy, the nature of our housing and our high-carbon past, this is no easy feat.

And of course, hosting the largest gathering of world leaders ever held in the UK at a key time for the climate change agenda will deliver significant benefits to Glasgow.

For starters, the estimate economic benefit to our hospitality sector is expected to be in excess of £70million, while the international exposure is an unrivalled opportunity to promote the city to new audiences.

But it will also be a platform upon which to promote and accelerate the city’s plans to tackle the climate emergency and become carbon neutral. There is an opportunity to deliver a major legacy like that of the 2014 Games by attracting extra resources and funding.

We can become a flagship city for the world in how to reduce emissions, particularly from transport and heating our homes. And those behind the cutting edge technology to deliver this will be seeking partnerships to demonstrate how it can be done. We are ideally placed to capitalise on that.

In the meantime, tomorrow the City Government will seek approval for the recommendations of the Climate Emergency Working Group. This is our plan for how we deliver carbon neutrality. These 60-plus recommendations are bold and challenging but courageous and necessary. And they cannot be delivered by the council alone. (For example as we push for the roll-out of car-free zones around schools more of our young people should walk, rather than take lifts to school. The positive impact would be significant.)

The fate of future generations depends upon our ability to take radical action on climate change. COP26 is a historic opportunity for us to lead on the issue of our times. Glasgow really can be the city for our times.