Environmental activist Greta Thunberg said she is not likely to attend the Unite Nations COP 26 summit at the SEC in Glasgow later this year.

It remains to be seen in what way the international event, postponed from last year because of covid, will be able to go ahead.

Hopefully, it can take place as close to the way it was envisaged and Glasgow is at the centre of meaningful global decision-making.

There is still of course the possibility that the event takes place without the numbers of people coming to our city from around the world depending on the coronavirus situation globally and the success of vaccinations around the world.

There is an argument to be made that an event designed to tackle climate change that involves tens of thousands of people flying in to one place from all around the world is missing the point.

Glasgow Times:

But unless these people get together to recognise the problems and agree on the solutions nothing will get done.

What is clear is that while this event has been postponed and it may still be required to be re-imagined it must go ahead.

It must go ahead because the climate emergency facing the planet has not been postponed in the last year.

And it must go ahead because the need for action to be taken has certainly not been lessened in the last year.

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While the United Nations COP 26 is a global event with world leaders, including possible the US president Joe Biden, expected to be in Glasgow and the opportunity for top level agreements to be reached setting targets to avoid an environmental catastrophe climate change is not just a big government issue.

The agreements that can be reached will benefit the everyday lives for people in cities like Glasgow.

The money invested in new technologies can benefit Glasgow’s economy bringing new jobs and ensuring we are not left behind in a transition to a greener world.

The main political parties put out their election pledges around the climate change agenda this week.

It is clear there is a massive challenge and it will need investment not only in money but in effort and resolve

The fact that Glasgow is hosting the COP 26 should bring this issue home to the city and Scotland just how serious it is but also how we can benefit by embracing the opportunity moving to a world with less pollution, fewer emissions and a cleaner more sustainable environment offers.

Parts of Glasgow are seriously blighted by pollution. The city centre, with Hope street and Renfield Street and thoroughfares like Dumbarton Road and Byres being areas consistently recording high levels of poor air quality.

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More investment in improving our streets for people to enjoy can help make the air more breathable and create better streets were people want to go which will benefit city centre and local businesses.

Streets which are destinations in themselves and not just a means of getting to somewhere else.

Glasgow has a huge number of properties that need to be made more energy efficient. Better insulation, improvements to central heating as well as reducing emissions burning gas to heat homes will save households cash with more heat generated being used and not escaping to the outside.

Better recycling technology can help reduce waste and thinking about unnecessary packaging can reduce the need for recycling.

Thinking about what we eat and what we produce to feed the nation can lead to healthier diets as well as a less resource intense production.

Too often when people think about action to tackle climate change it can be viewed as rolling back the progress of the industrial age that brought many benefits and innovations that have improved lives.

Instead, tackling climate change has to be seen as further progress and the necessity of protecting the planet will bring innovations that will in turn drive an economy.

The difference is that the new economy must be sustainable.

It must be focused less on unlimited consumption, with no regard how goods are produced as long as they are cheap, and more on meeting needs not only of our society but of those around the world that have suffered for our consumerism.

How and where our food is produced matters. How and where our clothes and household goods are produced matters.

In many ways Glasgow prospered with the industrial revolution creating much wealth and building a city. In other ways it suffered as heavy industry led to overcrowding and health problems and a legacy that is still with us today.

It certainly suffered in the years that followed, from de-industrialsation, with economic decline, job losses and community dispersal.

The challenge of the environmental revolution that has to be the next chapter in history is ensuring Glasgow is not only a part of the change but benefits from the change that must happen.

It can’t be seen as a fringe issue, instead it is central to every aspect of our lives.

And to benefit from the change we need to embrace the change.