Biden’s crew touch down for Cop26: C17 military jet carrying US president’s Marine One helicopter and entourage lands in Glasgow ahead of his arrival for climate change conference

  • C17 military jet kicked up clouds of vapour as it touched down on the runway before disgorging Marine One 
  • Was all the more impressive given that it was just a fraction of the overall US team with Mr Biden still in Rome
  • Flooding caused by heavy rain led to major delays for world leaders heading to the COP26 summit today

Part of President Biden’s huge entourage arrived at Glasgow Airport today in advance of COP26 – only to be welcomed by brutally wet weather which has seen two road bridges ‘washed away’ by torrential rain.

A C17 military jet kicked up clouds of vapour as it touched down on the runway before disgorging the president’s Marine One helicopter and scores of security personnel, who were thankfully treated to a break in the downpours.

Today’s scenes were all the more impressive given that it was just a fraction of the overall US team. Mr Biden and his wife Jill are in Rome today to meet the Pope to discuss a range of issues including climate change.

The President, a devout Roman Catholic, was pictured at in the San Damaso courtyard of the Apostolic Palace and shaking hands with the ‘Pope’s gentlemen’ before being led to the papal library where the talks will be held.

A C17 military jet kicked up clouds of vapour as it touched down on the runway before disgorging the president’s Marine One helicopter 

Scores of security personnel were also seen leaving the military plane. They were thankfully treated to a break in the downpours

Today’s scenes were all the more impressive given that it was just a fraction of the overall US team. Mr Biden and his wife Jill are in Rome today to meet the Pope to discuss a range of issues including climate change

G20

Sat 30 

10am: Arrival/meet-and-greet

11.30am: Family photo

11.45am: Roundtable discussions, Session 1: ‘Global Economy and Global Health’

3pm: Side-event on ‘Supporting small and medium enterprises, and women-owned businesses to build forward better’. Guest speaker: Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

7pm: Cultural event

Sun 31

10.30am: Side-event on the role of the private sector in the fight against climate change. Guest speaker: HRH Charles, Prince of Wales

11.05am: Roundtable Session 2: ‘Climate Change and Environment’

1.50pm: Roundtable Session 3: ‘Sustainable Development’

3.40pm: Closing session

4.15pm: Concluding press conferences 

COP26

Mon 1

Opening ceremony: Boris Johnson to welcome world leaders with a ceremony featuring ‘creative and cultural moments’ and a speech by Prince Charles, after the Queen pulled out for health reasons

National statements: Throughout the two-day leaders’ summit, heads of state and government will set out their plans to tackle climate change and curb emissions

2.30pm-4.30pm: Event – Action and Solidarity, the Critical Decade, during which leaders will hear the latest scientific reporting, get an update on progress, and hear what action must now be taken

Nov 2

9.15am – 12.45pm: Event – Action on Forests and Land-Use, at which leaders will hear how policies to protect forests and use land better can fight climate change

2.15pm-4.30pm: Event – Accelerating Clearn Technology and Deployment, at which leaders will be shown a ‘positive vision’ for how technology can be used to combat climate change including creating new jobs and economic growth 

It is unclear whether abortion rights – which have been championed by Biden in the US and has seen senior bishops call for him to be refused Communion – will feature as part of their talks.

Biden has fled tanking approval ratings at home and partisan in-fighting over his $1.75trillon spending bill to travel to Rome, where he is set to meet with leaders from the G20 group of wealthy nations for a two-day summit.

It is the first face-to-face summit of the G20 since Covid struck, and Biden will be hoping to use it to repair his international reputation following his chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan that frustrated his allies and drew unfavourable comparisons with predecessor Donald Trump.

It also comes just two days ahead of the start of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow that will be hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Flooding caused major delays for world leaders heading to the summit today – with one train firm urging passengers ‘not to travel’ across the border due to disruption after two road bridges were ‘washed away’ amid torrential rain.

Avanti West Coast – which runs services between London Euston and Glasgow, where the climate conference begins on Sunday – said Network Rail had imposed a series of speed restrictions for safety at several locations.

National Rail said disruption to services was expected to last until at least 1pm this afternoon, when services will be ‘gradually reintroduced’. It told passengers: ‘Customers are advised NOT TO TRAVEL north of Preston today.’

Just two days before Cop26 starts, Network Rail said it had been ‘working hard throughout the night to deal with flooding’ on the West Coast main line, with Avanti and TransPennine Express services facing speed restrictions.

In the Dumfries and Galloway town of Annan, two footbridges – the Cuthbertson Bridge and Diamond Jubilee Bridge – were swept away as the River Annan rose. Network Rail Scotland said the bridges destroyed were north of the railway with trains unable to pass over a viaduct, closing the Glasgow Central – Carlisle via Dumfries line.

It added that the line will remain closed until workers can inspect the Annan Viaduct. A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘This requires divers to go into the water. So, until the river flow slows, we’re unable to do this.’

Travellers making their way to the Cop26 conference from London would ordinarily use the West Coast service to reach Glasgow, with many instead forced to travel on LNER services from King’s Cross to Edinburgh.

But other trains were disrupted by the weather, including the Edinburgh to Glasgow Central via Shotts, Edinburgh to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High and Glasgow Queen Street to Alloa/Aberdeen/Inverness services.

This week, major road routes into Glasgow have been submerged by major rain, with the city’s Great Western Road, in the West End, was left underwater – with drivers forced to leave their cars when the flooding hit.

Overnight, emergency services evacuated people from houses from Hawick in the Scottish Borders after declaring 500 properties could be inundated amid a flood risk and heavy downpours that also hit the Lake District. 

Joe Biden has arrived at the Vatican for a closed-door meeting with Pope Francis during which the pair are expected to discuss climate change and social injustice ahead of G20 summit tomorrow

Joe and Jill Biden were pictured meeting with the ‘Pope’s gentlemen’ at the Apostolic Palace before being led to the papal library where his talks with Francis will take place

Biden has been facing criticism in the US over his support for abortion rights which has seen bishops call for him to be refused Communion. It is not known whether the issue will form part of his talks with Francis

Delegates travelling to the Cop26 climate change summit wait on the concourse at London Euston station this morning

Officers in Hawick, which is 15 miles north of the border with England, called in the Borders Water Rescue Team, mountain rescue and fire crews to help evacuate properties, and schools and health centres were closed.

Despite the rain, forecasters highlighted how temperatures were very mild for the time of year, with highs of 17.3C (63.1F) in Suffolk. They added that the unsettled weather was likely to continue into the weekend, with another wet front arriving from the West today amid a further series of weather warnings for up to 80mm (3.1in) more rain.

The greatest rainfall today was expected in Cumbria and South West England, where Dartmoor was facing up to 80mm (3.1in) – more than a week’s worth, when compared to the October average for the region of 215mm (8.4in). In other areas, the Met Office anticipated up to 40mm (1.57in) in South West Scotland and 60mm (2.4in) in Wales.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued 14 flood warnings and seven alerts today, while in England 47 alerts and 23 warnings were in place from the Environment Agency. Natural Resources Wales had 33 alerts out.

In Peebles, the River Tweed burst its banks and there were fears in Hawick that the Teviot would be next. A rest centre was set up at the town’s Teviotdale Leisure Centre to provide shelter to residents of at-risk areas. A local pub, The Bourtree, offered free tea and coffee and said it would stay open overnight to accommodation.

Police and security personnel outside the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow today, where the Cop26 summit will be held

Pedestrians shelter under umbrellas in Glasgow today as they walk past a digital display near the SEC venue in the city

Grey skies over the SEC in Glasgow this morning ahead of the Cop26 climate change conference beginning this Sunday

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