ONE of the most unedifying aspects of COP26 has been the sight of Glasgow hotels and homeowners on Airbnb fleecing delegates with charges of £600 to £2000 a night for basic accommodation.

With 30,000 delegates arriving in the city and only 10,000 hotel rooms within two miles of the SEC, the financial exploitation of delegates was perhaps predictable. What chance would a COP26 delegate from a poorer country have to get a room in Glasgow?

Thankfully, many Glaswegians had kinder hearts and participated in the Homestay Network which offered delegates a room in someone’s home for free or up to £30 per night.

Many local people have organised free accommodation for COP26 delegates through their own


Danny Phillips lives on the Southside and has enabled some delegates from Kenya and Malawi to stay in our city for free. He said: “I got so many offers of free accommodation. It was heartening. In fact, I had too many offers. I was just a bit appalled that so many people and businesses were cashing in.

“I’m not against people making money. But it’s not right if rich countries get an advantage at these negotiations.

“Especially when climate change will have such a devastating effect on the poorer countries particularly in Africa. And, with people from across the world staying with us we are having a great time.”

One of those delegates is George Wamukoya, co-chair of the Africa Low Emission Development Strategies Partnership and team leader for the African Group of Negotiators Experts Support.

George said: “COP26 comes at the backdrop of science showing that the world is on a dangerous path of global warming unless urgent action is taken by countries, especially developed countries and emerging big economies, such as China, India and Brazil to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Africa with low adaptive capacity is the most affected. For example, the horn of Africa is currently experiencing drought that has affected pastoralist communities with death of their livestock, therefore losing their livelihood. Kenya has declared the drought a national disaster forcing it to reallocate resources meant for provision of other services to provide a safety net to the affected communities.”

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), countries are classified as “industrialised”, “economies in transition” or “least-developed countries” (LDC). There are 49 LDCs across the globe, which includes 33 African countries. LDCs are given special status under the UNFCCC, given their limited capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change.

The aim of COP26 is to limit global warming to the 1.5C as set out in the Paris Agreement. For LDCs this can only be achieved with financial support through the UN’s Green Climate Fund (GCF) which has a target of $100 billion annually.

Developed countries are required to provide financial and technical support through the GCF to LDCs to help facilitate climate change mitigation and adaptation.

COP26 is so important because the Green Climate Fund has yet to materialise.

Jean-Paul Adam is a director of Climate Change at the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Talking to African Renewal last week he said: “It is frankly absurd that we have trillions of dollars being mobilised in pandemic-related stimulus but the $100bn is yet to be paid, and yet as a percentage of the $20 trillion mobilised by developed countries to tackle Covid-19 it is frankly negligible.”

Without the annual $100bn climate change support it’s African countries that will suffer most from global warming.

David Obura, director of Coastal Oceans Research and Development East Africa is in Glasgow for COP26.

David said: “Coral reefs are the global canary in the coal mine for climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has established that a 1.5C temperature rise is the limit for retaining 60-90% of coral reefs worldwide. From a climate perspective if we save coral reefs, we save everything else globally.

“The dependence of people on nature globally will be undermined by climate change and biodiversity loss.

“In Africa so many people live in poverty and are highly dependent on the productivity of the land.

“We need to resolve climate issues that cause the least harm to climate, biodiversity and people. Nature based solutions are critically important. Climate funding needs to go down to local levels to sustain nature where people live.”

For George, Africa comes to COP26 with one clear message: “Developed countries need to do more to address the climate emergency: fulfil the commitment of mobilising $100bn per year.

“We are very grateful to Scots for the hospitality accorded to COP26 participants from Africa. They have opened their houses to provide free accommodation that has helped delegates stay near the conference and concentrate on negotiations.”