The UN’s climate change summit opened in Egypt on Sunday with a warning that our planet is “sending a distress signal” according to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The UN report said that the previous eight years were on track to be the hottest on record.
More than 120 world leaders are expected to attend COP27, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, taking place in Sharm el-Sheikh, a Red Sea resort.
Starting this week, countries will sit down for two weeks to discuss climate action.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, COP27 president, urged leaders not to let food and energy crises resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupt climate change action.
“It is inherent on us all in Sharm el-Sheikh to demonstrate our recognition of the magnitude of the challenges we face and our steadfast resolve to overcome it.”
The latest report from the World Meteorological Organization laid bare the need for action.
In his video message, Mr Guterres described the State of the Global Climate Report 2022 as a “chronicle of climate chaos”.
Global temperatures have risen by 1.15C since pre-industrial times, according to the report, and the last eight years are on track to be the warmest on record.
Climate change’s other serious impacts, including sea level rise, glacier mass loss, and record-breaking heat waves, are also mentioned in the report.
Because of these findings, COP27 must be the place for urgent and credible climate action, Mr Guterres said.
The COP27 session will begin in earnest on Monday with the World Leaders’ Summit, where leaders will give five-minute speeches outlining what they want from the meeting.
World leaders should move ‘further and faster’ towards a renewable energy future, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to say.
During his speech, he will remind governments not to regress on the COP26 achievements in Glasgow last year.
On Monday and Tuesday, world leaders will make remarks; afterwards, conference delegates will get down to business.
Last year, in Glasgow, a number of commitments were made:
Developing countries, which are hardest hit by climate change, are demanding that previous funding commitments be fulfilled.
However, there is also a desire for discussion on ‘loss and damage’ finance—money to help them cope with the climate change-related losses they are currently facing rather than merely preparing for future effects—to be included on COP27’s official agenda. Following difficult negotiations, the subject is on the agenda.
Countries in the process of development are seeking funds to recover from the ongoing climate disasters. Flooding after tropical Storm Nalgae in the Philippines is an example of one such disaster.
There will be hundreds of events over the two weeks, in addition to all the formal negotiations, with exhibitions, workshops, and cultural performances from youth, business, indigenous societies, and academic, artistic, and fashion communities from around the world.
Because protests are normally a vibrant feature of COP summits, they are likely to be subdued.
More than 60,000 political prisoners have been detained in Egypt, according to human rights groups. However, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been in power since 2014 and has severely restricted freedom of expression.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell