Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
Egypt hopes to jump-start the action needed to face a warming world when it takes the presidency of major UN climate talks in November, but warns that countries need a “reality check” as progress stalls.
Presiding over the inflection point when a decades-long United Nations climate process switches from negotiation to “implementation”, Egypt has set a high bar for its leadership of this year’s COP27 climate summit.
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But the challenge of maintaining international momentum on climate change has been made even harder as the world faces a catalogue of challenges, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and spiralling food, energy and economic crises.
“Because of the geopolitical situation, climate change is being pushed back,” said Ambassador Mohamed Nasr at a meeting in the German city of Bonn meant to lay the groundwork for the Egyptian conference.
“We are facing a big challenge.”
Outgoing UN climate leader Patricia Espinosa had told delegates that when global leaders gather in Sharm el-Sheikh in November the world will “look nothing like” it did during the climate talks in Glasgow last year.
The international community has agreed that climate change poses an existential threat to human systems and the natural world.
But action to cut carbon pollution and prepare for the accelerating impacts is lagging, as is support for vulnerable countries confronting the ravages of a changing climate.
“It’s time to start the reality check. We have been planning and planning,” said Nasr. Now the question must be: “Is it delivering on the ground or not?”