Thomas feels disillusioned by COP26. ‘I’ve missed my chance,’ the Glaswegian barber tells me. ‘My friend rented his flat at two grand a week. He’s making £6,000 and using the money to jet off for a holiday.’

I’m in Easterhouse, a few miles from where the global elite are gathering to save the world from itself. They haven’t ventured to this once-deprived estate, which was one of the largest in Scotland. ‘I’m not sure why,’ Angus, the local butcher, laughs. ‘Perhaps Joe Biden got lost on the M8.’

How does he feel about the calls for veganism? ‘Well, I’m a butcher,’ he replies. ‘And my dad was a butcher and my grandad was a butcher. I grew up on pig’s feet soup. So I think people round here are still going to want to eat meat.’

Angus’s views could be ascribed to self-interest. The same can’t be said for local cabbie Andy. He’s made a small fortune shuttling delegates between Glasgow and Edinburgh at £120 a time. ‘Sorry, but the whole thing is a pile of crap,’ he tells me. ‘They’ve been driving round in big convoys telling everyone else to get the bus.

‘It all feels like a millionaire’s party.’

When you reach the Scottish Event Campus (temporary home of the 26th Conference of the Parties), you will realize that the area of the biggest city in Scotland is not actually part of Scotland. It’s been formally designated UN territory. The UN has placed a steel ring around it. The perimeter is patrolled by police vans from Liverpool and South Yorkshire.

President Joe Biden jetted into Edinburgh on board Air Force One and had a massive convoy across Scotland closing the Clydeside Expressway causing chaos

On board Air Force One, President Joe Biden flew into Edinburgh and led a huge convoy through Scotland to close the Clydeside Expressway. This caused chaos

Amazon's Jeff Bezos warned the world: ¿We must all stand together to protect our world.' That is the same Jeff Bezos who blasted into space in his private rocket ship on a jolly with his mates

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos warned the world: ‘We must all stand together to protect our world.’ This is Jeff Bezos, the man who launched into space with his friends in a private rocket boat.

The Clydeside Expressway, one of Glasgow’s main arteries, has been closed to provide a VIP lane. Joe Biden was welcomed with so much security, that those who needed to make their way to the shops could only use the subway to cross the street.

Although the people living around the center have been forced to relocate temporarily, they are still able to walk the streets. Jamen, wearing a Darth Vader costume and comming from Washington State, brought his climate solution to the attention delegates. ‘The key is Marine Cloud Brightening,’ he tells me.

‘It helps whiten the clouds and creates global cooling.’

He begins to sing a Spanish song as I am walking away. Further down, Val assists her Christian Climate Action colleagues as they lay down in the rain and wrap themselves in white shrouds.

‘This symbolises those who have died, are dying and will die as a result of the climate emergency,’ she says.

Japan's PM Fumio Kishida, pictured, sent an empty jet on a 12,000 mile round trip so they could plan which was the best Scottish airport he could use for the Cop26 conference

Japan’s PM Fumio Kishhida sent an empty aircraft on a 12,000 mile round trip in order to help him plan the best Scottish airport that he could use during the Cop26 conference.

Are you hopeful that COP26 can prevent more death? ‘An event like this is better than no event at all, but it’s not looking good.’

You can see a number of messages encouraging them to increase their efforts as you walk alongside the iron barrier that isolates the COP26 negotiators.

Some are simple and touching, written clearly by children. ‘Everyone must save the animals.’ Others are more surreal. ‘Bottom trawling is killing us.’ But the fence provides the perfect metaphor for how an event which is supposed to promote global sustainability has spiralled out of control.

‘The world is at one minute to midnight, and we have to act now,’ the Prime Minister intoned as the conference opened. But that’s what COP26 essentially is – an act. One giant performance. One giant performance. World leaders are nothing but contract actors, playing their roles and muttering cliched lines. Their sound stage is Glasgow. These people are unpaid extras.

Boris finally realized this. His retreat has been apparent as COP26 progresses. The naive evangelism of his ‘hug-a-fish strategy’ has been replaced with realism. This compromise has been made to reduce the commitment to eradicating coal and fossil fuels. All three countries, China, Germany and the US have rejected plans to eliminate petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

The proposal for $100 billion per year to help developing countries reduce their carbon emissions was thrown out of the window. This may have been a good thing, since the whole affair was built on lies. Three lies are actually the truth.

One was the fact that this unsustainable, sprawling orgy was inextricable from our environment.

They were the motorcades, their private jets, and the receptions. It was the only way to close a deal. It couldn’t be done via Zoom. The key global players must see the white of each other’s eyes.

But yesterday – with the negotiations at their most crucial stage – those leaders were absent.

Boris and Biden were gone. Macron and Merkel were also absent. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin didn’t bother to show up at all. Quick photo of Leonardo DiCaprio with the global elite before they vanished into the Glaswegian darkness.

The second lie was that COP26 represented the world’s final hope.

‘Quite literally, it is the last chance saloon,’ Prince Charles said two weeks ago. But suddenly, hours were extended. Although no final agreement was made, all eyes were now on COP27 in Cairo.

‘We need much more urgency, as this is the critical decade. We need to come back next year,’ warned Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who oversaw the 2015 Paris summit. So COP27 is about to become the world’s last chance. Then COP28 in the UAE will be the world’s last chance. The cycle of delayed crisis will not stop.

The final lie, however was perhaps the most important. The one that held that COP26, even if it didn’t secure all of its environmental targets, would still represent a huge leap forward as it drove the environment to the top of public awareness.

Well, it’s certainly done that. It’s not the way organizers had hoped.

People are well aware that the Joe Biden who told them ‘the US is not only back at the table, but leading by example’ is the same Joe Biden who closed several Glasgow petrol stations so that his gas-guzzling limo had a secure place to refuel.

They’re aware that the Jeff Bezos, who said from the COP26 podium, ‘We must all stand together to protect our world’, is the same Jeff Bezos who blasted into space in his private rocket ship on a jolly with his mates.

They’re aware that Japanese PM Fumio Kishida, who pledged ‘Japan will dedicate all its strength to undertake actions and contribute to the future of humankind’, is the same Fumio Kishida who sent his plane empty on a 12,000-mile round-trip to work out which Scottish airport was the best to land at.

The 26th COP26 has ended. The final motorcade is leaving the city, and the ring of iron has fallen.

Glasgow’s people have won their city back. And they’d better make the most of it. Because if the events of the past fortnight truly represent the best last chance for our planet, then they – and the rest of us – are doomed.