At COP27, climate change seen as a battle for survival

  • China, the United States play the leading role
  • Guterres seeks to phase out coal by 2040
  • UAE, chairing 2023 talks, says it will continue to produce fossil fuels

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Nov 7 (Reuters) – World leaders and diplomats saw the fight against global warming as a matter of human survival at the opening of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt on Monday. The fight, the UN chief has declared so far, has seen the world accelerate on a “highway to hell” due to a lack of progress.

African, European and Middle Eastern heads of state echoed the stark messages, setting an urgent tone for governments to begin two weeks of talks in the seaside resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to find out how to avoid the worst climate change problems. .

“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres told delegates, urging them to speed up the transition from fossil fuels and to the poorer who are already struggling with climate impacts already happening State funding.

Despite decades of climate negotiations so far, countries have failed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and their commitments to do so in the future are insufficient to prevent warming to levels that scientists say would be catastrophic.

Land wars in Europe, deteriorating diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China, the top emitters, rampant inflation and strained energy supplies could distract countries further away from tackling climate change, which could undermine, Guterres said. Transition to clean energy.

“Greenhouse gas emissions are growing. Global temperatures are rising. Our planet is rapidly approaching a tipping point that will make climate chaos irreversible,” he said. “We’re hitting the highway to climate hell, foot on the gas.”

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who also spoke at the event, said global leaders have credibility issues on climate change and criticized developed countries for their continued pursuit of Africa’s natural gas resources, which he described as “fossil fuel colonialism” “.

“All of us have a credibility problem: We’re talking and starting to act, but we’re not doing enough,” Gore said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that while the world was distracted by the confluence of global crises, it was important not to sacrifice the country’s commitment to tackling climate change.

“We will not sacrifice our climate commitments because of Russia’s energy threat,” Macron said, “so all countries must continue to deliver on all their commitments.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the war was a reason to accelerate efforts to rid the world of fossil fuels.

“Climate security and energy security go hand in hand, and Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine and rising global energy prices are not reasons to slow climate change. They are reasons to act faster,” he said.

UAE to continue pumping oil, pumping gas

While leaders tended to agree on the risks of global warming, their speeches revealed wide divisions, including whether fossil fuels can play a role in a climate-friendly future and who should pay for the climate damage that has already occurred.

Immediately after Guterres’ speech urging an end to the fossil fuel era, United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said his country, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, will Continue to produce these fossil fuels. whenever needed.

“The UAE is considered a responsible energy supplier and will continue to play that role as long as the world needs oil and gas,” he said.

The UAE will host next year’s UN conference, which will try to hammer out the deal struck last year in talks in Britain and this year in Egypt.

Many countries rich in oil, gas and coal have criticized the push for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels as economically reckless and unfair to poor and less developed countries hungry for economic growth.

“We support a fair and equitable green transition rather than making decisions that jeopardize our development,” said Senegalese President and African Union Chair McKisal.

Poorer countries, which take little responsibility for historical carbon emissions, have also been arguing that rich countries should compensate for their losses from climate-induced disasters, including floods, storms and wildfires.

Signatories to the 2015 Paris Agreement have pledged to meet a long-term goal of preventing global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, a threshold that scientists say risks running out of control over climate change.

Guterres said the goal would only be possible if the world achieves net-zero emissions by 2050. He asked countries to agree to phasing out the use of coal, one of the most carbon-intensive fuels, globally by 2040 with the Organization’s members. By 2030, economic cooperation and development will enter the market.

The head of the International Monetary Fund told Reuters on the sidelines of the meeting that climate goals depended on achieving a global carbon price of at least $75 a tonne by the end of the century, while the pace of change in the real economy remained “too slow”.

Meanwhile, the World Trade Organization said in a report released on Monday that it should address trade barriers in low-carbon industries to address the role of global trade in driving climate change.

read more:

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FACTBOX-COP27: Key players in Egypt’s UN climate talks

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Reporting by William James, Valerie Walkowicz and Simon Jessop; Editing by Richard Valdmanis, Katy Daigle, Barbara Lewis, Frank Jack Daniel, Deepa Babington and Lisa Shumaker

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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