ARGYLL and Bute MP Brendan O'Hara (SNP) talks all things COP26 in his latest Advertiser opinion column...

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RIGHT now, one of the most important meetings the world has ever known is taking place in Glasgow.

Presidents, prime ministers, and an assortment of other dignitaries have come to Scotland with one job, and that is to make good on the promises they made to cut global emissions and restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade.

Only by making good on that promise will they give the planet a fighting chance in the war against climate change.

Currently we are losing that war, as the world’s projected emissions put us on track for a massive 2.7 degrees warming. It’s a level of global warming that will have potentially catastrophic consequences for the planet and everything on it.

Glasgow therefore presents the world with its last best chance to get global warming under control. It is impossible to overstate the importance of COP26.

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I have no doubt that the discussions will be long, complex, and detailed but they have to emerge from that conference hall with legally binding commitments to control emissions and restrict global warming.

That will require leadership, it will take courage and it will mean significant sacrifice on the part of us all. But there is no alternative. There are no other options. It has to be done, and it has to be done now.

The world is in a critical state. The poles are melting, sea levels are rising and great swathes around the middle of our planet are rapidly becoming too hot for human habitation. Across Europe this year, we have witnessed an unprecedented number of wildfires caused by record high temperatures, quickly followed by never-before-seen levels of rainfall.

Ahead of COP26, I met with Christian Aid representatives from Bangladesh and Nigeria who told of how the global north has created a climate emergency that the global south is now having to live with, every single day.

Madagascar for example, having contributed virtually zero harmful emissions, is experiencing its worst drought in 40 years, and is facing a catastrophic famine.

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In the past year alone, Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world, has suffered damages estimated at around $2 billion because of natural disasters, including cyclones, floods and rising sea levels.

Closer to home, I also met with the climate action group Time for Change Argyll and Bute, who rightly demanded that Glasgow must be the turning point for the planet and that those world leaders currently in the SEC have to deliver on their promises.

Just last month, the UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres said of COP26: “We can either save our world or condemn humanity to a hellish future.”

The world is facing that stark a choice, and that is why Glasgow’s COP26 has to succeed.