Activist countries

As host of COP27, Egypt urges countries to meet their climate commitments

Egypt, host of upcoming UN climate change summit, will push countries to deliver on pledges to sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions, facilitate ‘non-adversarial’ talks on compensating developing countries for the impacts of global warming and will enable climate activists to protest, said the new president of COP27.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who is also the designated president of the next annual conference of the parties, to be held in November in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El−Sheikh, called the set an “implementation” goal.

Shoukry said the latest summit, held last year in Glasgow, Scotland, finalized many of the commitments made during the Paris Agreement in 2015, which aimed to cut emissions aimed at limiting global warming to 1, 5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times.

“Commitments and pledges must now be implemented across all sectors of the climate change agenda, whether in adaptation, mitigation or finance, loss and damage,” Shoukry said, who was attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

In recent years, many developing countries and activists have escalated calls for a fund to compensate poor countries for the devastation caused by climate change, disproportionately caused by rich countries due to past emissions.

The appeal was rejected at last year’s summit. Many proponents of the idea, often referred to as “loss and damage”, hope to make progress in November. Their arguments could be reinforced by the symbolic significance of this conference which is being held in Egypt, a developing country in North Africa.

“We hope the discussion (about loss and damage) will be comprehensive, but it is not adversarial,” Shoukry said, adding that there should be recognition among all countries “that we are all in the same boat and that we must succeed, we all must succeed.

Shoukry said protests would be allowed during the conference. Egyptian authorities are cracking down on demonstrations not authorized by the government and reserve the right to cancel or postpone any protest, leading activists to question what, if any, protests might take place, a common occurrence at COPs. previous ones.

“We are developing a facility adjacent to the conference center that will give them every opportunity to participate, to act, to demonstrate, to express that opinion,” Shoukry said. “And we will also give them access, as is traditionally done on a trading day, to the trading hold itself.”

Protests at United Nations world climate conferences often fill the streets with floats and banners and last for days. Demonstrations as well as booths and press conferences outside official facilities constitute a conference in their own right, although they are not where critical language on carbon commitments is hammered home.

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Shoukry said at meetings in Denmark earlier this month around climate pledges that he invited protesters who were outside to talk to him. He called the meeting “productive” and said Egypt’s climate goals aligned with those of many protesters.

“We recognize their impact, their determination, their commitment to keeping us all honest as government officials and parties that we should not be delinquent and rise to the occasion and deal with this very important issue,” he said. -he declares.

Before hosting the conference, Egypt hastened to launch numerous agreements around renewable energy. In March, Egypt and Norway signed an agreement for several projects around green hydrogen and building green infrastructure projects in African countries. Egypt and clean energy company Scatec have also signed a $5 billion memorandum of understanding to establish a plant in the Suez Canal region to produce green ammonia from green hydrogen. These agreements follow years of steady investment in wind and solar technologies.

Shoukry said Egypt was relying on renewable energy as much as possible in building several new cities, including a new administrative capital east of Cairo. Critics called it a “vain project”, but the government said it was necessary to absorb Cairo’s burgeoning population, which is expected to double to 40 million by 2050.

Shoukry said a rapid shift to renewables presents huge opportunities for investors, a common argument among proponents. When asked if fossil fuel companies could or should be part of the transition to renewable energy, an argument made by oil and gas companies, many of them at the Davos conference, Shoukry was not d ‘deal.

“I can’t say that fossil fuels are part of the solution. Fossil fuels have been the problem,” he said. “We could see gas as a transitional energy source with certainly fewer emissions. But I think we really need to move quickly to net zero and we need to apply more effectively in new technologies, in renewable energies.