COP26: Some exorbitant prices for hotels at the climate summit in Glasgow

But this year it should really work. After the UN climate conference COP26 could not take place last year due to the corona pandemic, Great Britain now wants to host the meeting between November 1st and 12th in Glasgow, Scotland. There are several climate policy directional decisions to be made. But although the date is still a long way off, the mega-event is already making headlines. The reason is a report in the newspaper “The Scotsman” about exorbitant prices in some cases at the summit’s official accommodation agency.

Around 30,000 delegates, representatives from companies and non-governmental organizations, scientists and journalists are expected to attend the meeting. They all have to sleep somewhere, even if the nights are often very short in practice, especially in the hot final phase of the summit. According to the newspaper’s report, however, even more rustic hotels could pay unbelievable prices. The case of the Easyhotel in neighboring Edinburgh is reported. There the price is usually the equivalent of 60 euros per night. During the summit, however, around 1030 euros would be due. For a 6.5 square meter room without a window, by the way. Room service is also extra. In addition, the total amount must be paid in advance.

Voices go unheard

What sounds like a bizarre can in fact turn into a tangible problem for the negotiations. Climate summits also live from the fact that delegates and activists from poorer countries can present their needs in the climate crisis in front of the eyes of the world public. If participation costs thousands of euros, however, many representatives would also have to stay at home. Their voices went unheard in the negotiations and in front of the conference rooms.

There are also less expensive offers on the official hotel portal. But the Easyhotel is not an isolated case. The report mentions, among other things, the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh, where a single room costs 460 euros per night, and the Malmaison in Glasgow with 580 euros per night. In both cases, however, only if at least twelve nights are booked in a row.

The booking of the hotels for the COP26 takes place via a central portal. According to the report, this is operated by the Swiss-based MCI Group, which offers the service on behalf of the British government. There was no tender for it. The money for the overnight stays should be paid to MCI, not to the hotels directly.

The government said delegates could reserve their accommodations through other means. The portal itself, on the other hand, makes it clear that bookings should only be made in this way. Among other things, this serves to protect against fraud.

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