THE leader of Glasgow City Council believes it is "too early" to say if a climate change conference in the city will go ahead or not this year. 

Susan Aitken insists it is impossible to predict what will happen between now and November's 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) meeting but said there was cause for "cautious optimism". 

The conference has already been delayed a year by the pandemic and while councillor Aitken admits some "fringe" events may be scaled back she still expects "tens of thousands" to attend. 

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When asked on Radio Scotland this morning if the event will still go ahead, Cllr Aitken said: "It is certainly the intention and the ambition of both the United Nations, whose event this ultimately is, and the UK Government, the host country, that this will be an in-person event.

"Certainly, it is the view of the UN that this is so important and the outcomes of COP26 are so important for the future of the planet that it does need to be something where world leaders connect with each other in-person.

Glasgow Times: Joe Biden is among the American leaders expected to appear at COP26 Joe Biden is among the American leaders expected to appear at COP26

"There will be a combination of factors and it would be a foolish person who would make absolutely firm predictions about the course of the pandemic over the coming year. 

"But, clearly there are grounds for cautious optimism just now. Ultimately, it is the UN's event and it will be in their hands. It was their decision to postpone for a year and should there be any change to their current plans it will be in their hands.

"In the meantime, Glasgow as the host city is planning for what will be the biggest event we have ever hosted and the most significant." 

Joe Biden, who is due to be sworn in as American President today, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson are among the world leaders set to appear at COP26. 

Ms Aitken added: "We are expecting world leaders to turn out in force. The fringe round about COP might not be the usual but we are still expecting thousands to come to Glasgow and maybe even tens of thousands."

Cllr Aitken was speaking on the day Glasgow City Council launched a recruitment drive for 1000 volunteers for the event. 

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A variety of volunteer roles will be available in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, including providing information on the conference and the venues, supporting delegates staying in and travelling around the city, and promoting the best of what Glasgow and Scotland has to offer