COP 27 BEGINS at Sharm El-Sheikh: Leaders call for “new era of implementation”

The UN COP 27 event started in earnest on Monday November 7th, and was a full event. “Humanity must choose whether to collaborate or die.” “It’s either a Climate Solidarity Pact or a Collective Suicide Pact,” the UN Secretary-General addressed over 100 global leaders gathered for the UN Climate Change Conference’s first formal plenary.

The proposed Pact would see all countries making extra efforts to reduce emissions, wealthier nations and international financial institutions assisting emerging economies, the end reliance on fossil fuels and the construction of coal plants, the provision of sustainable energy for all, and the joining of strategy and capacities for the benefit of humanity.

“The world’s two greatest economies, the United States and China bear a special duty to work together to make this Pact a reality.” “This is our only chance of fulfilling our climate targets,” he stated emphatically.

Mr Guterres stated that the 8 billionths of the human family would be born shortly and that this milestone puts COP27 into perspective.

“How will we respond when ‘Baby 8 Billion’ asks: What did you do for our world and our planet when you had the chance?”

Tax oil firms while also assisting individuals affected by climate change.

Delegates at COP 27. Photo: UNESCO

António Guterres has proposed nations tax the pandemic-driven windfall profits of fossil fuel firms and diverts the funds to people facing rising food and energy costs, as well as countries experiencing loss and damage from the climate catastrophe.

“The terrible consequences of climate change are now here.” Loss and destruction cannot be ignored any longer. It is a moral requirement. It is a vital issue of worldwide solidarity, as well as climate justice. “Those who contributed the least to the climate disaster are reaping the storm produced by others,” he stressed, adding that leaders must agree on a clear, time-bound plan reflecting the scope and severity of the situation during COP27.

For Mr Guterres, obtaining clear outcomes on loss and damage is a “litmus test” of states’ commitment to the success of COP27.

More funds for adaption

The UN Secretary-General also called for progress on adaptation and resilience to future climate disruption, stressing that three and a half billion people live in countries that are very susceptible to climate impacts.

This would imply that governments fulfil the pledge made at COP26 last year of $40 billion in adaptation funding by 2025.

“We need a plan for how this will be achieved.” And we must know that this is merely the first step. “By 2030, adaptation needs are expected to exceed $300 billion per year,” he said.

He also emphasized the need for multinational financial institutions and banks to change their business models and do their share.

It’s time to get together.

The UN Secretary-General urged countries to work together for implementation, adding it was time for global solidarity.

“Solidarity that respects all human rights and provides a safe place for environmental activists and other societal actors to participate in our climate response.” Let us not forget that the assault on the environment is a tremendous violation of human rights in and of itself.”

Mr Guterres emphasized that the global climate struggle will be won or lost in this critical decade, with present world leaders watching.

“One thing is certain: those who give up will inevitably lose.” So let us battle together and win. For the 8 billion members of our human family – and for future generations,” he says.

Highlights of the Implementation Summit

The tension was obvious in the Tonino Lamborghini International Convention Centre’s main plenary chamber as deliberations began on the opening day of the World Leaders Summit, which was rebranded as the Climate Implementation Summit’ by the COP27 Egyptian Presidency this year.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was the first official to address this afternoon, just ahead of the UN Secretary-General. He emphasized that leaders must move beyond rhetoric to address today’s climate change challenge and execute the Paris Agreement.

“The people of the world are looking at us today, and they want the rapid concrete implementation of genuinely concrete actions to reduce emissions and strengthen their ability to adapt to and guarantee the funding required for developing countries that are currently suffering more than others,” he explained.

Mr El-Sisi asked leaders to consider the African continent’s interests and to promote the notion of “shared responsibility” in order to instil confidence in their capacity to accomplish the climate targets.

The Egyptian president stated that millions of people throughout the world have high hopes for the conference and that COP27 should deliver, including resolving “thorny questions.”

“I encourage you to be the role model that the world seeks.” And demonstrate true practical competence to meet the problem of climate change,” he said.

At the end of his speech, the Egyptian President, speaking off the cuff, issued an open plea to the assembled leaders to press for an end to the conflict in Ukraine, prompting applause from the audience.

“My nation is not economically strong; we suffered terribly during COVID-19, and we are suffering again as a result of this senseless conflict.” “The entire planet is in pain,” he stated.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

One of the highlights of Monday’s conference was a 10-minute film made by the host country and displayed on the large 360° screens within the room.

The audio of a dramatic poem depicting the ancient Egyptian civilization’s answers to climatic change, which likely caused their demise, was included in the production.

A map of the planet was peppered with red flags to highlight where calamities occurred in 2022 alone – virtually the whole globe was covered.

Powerful photos of damage were exhibited with heartbreaking testimony from victims of climate change, including children, from Oman to France, and Brazil to Sudan.

The movie also warned that prominent destinations such as Alexandria, Osaka, Rio de Janeiro, the Maldives, Miami, and Venice may just vanish if no genuine climate action is taken.

“Please do everything in your ability to rescue our city,” a tearful Venetian implored.

However, the production finished on a positive note, stating that the world continues to provide opportunities for governments to make reforms, shift to renewable energy, and consume more ethically.

“Climate changes us all,” the lady narrator continued, asking world leaders to alleviate our current issues, just as the ancient Egyptians did, giving their civilization 500 years more of existence.

An appeal from African youth

Lea Namugerwa, a Ugandan climate activist, implored the international leaders who would take the stage to talk as if it were an emergency since that is exactly what it is.

She told how her life changed when she watched individuals close to her die in Uganda as a result of landslides caused by heavy rains when she was just 14 years old.

She founded her own NGO, ‘Birthday Trees,’ when she was 15 years old. Instead of a usual birthday celebration, she invites everyone to a tree-planting ceremony.

“I want to plant one million trees; what about you?” she asked global leaders.

Ms Namugerwa stated that because COP27 has been termed the “African COP,” the conference should emphasize that her continent while contributing less than 4% of global emissions, is experiencing the harshest repercussions of climate change.

“May the African COP be a unique COP.” “Let the African COP be an action COP,” she said, pushing Presidents and Prime Ministers to consider if they want to be regarded as leaders who “did nothing” while in office.

Political will is an infinite resource: Al Gore’s

More than 12 Moroccan climate activists will attend COP 27 in Egypt. Photo:

Meanwhile, former US Vice President Al Gore remarked in one of the most dramatic statements of the conference that we are treating the thin blue shell that shields us, our atmosphere, as an “open sewer.”

“Today, as we do every day, we dump 162 million tons of man-made heat-trapping global warming pollution into the sky.” It piles up and builds up there… The accumulated mass traps as much excess heat as 60,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs bursting on our globe every day. That is why we are experiencing these calamities,” he emphasized, warning that things are becoming worse.

According to Mr Gore, leaders have a credibility problem: they talk but don’t do enough.

“It is a decision to perpetuate this destructive cycle,” he said, comparing climate change to “apartheid,” with the most vulnerable suffering the most.

“We don’t have to select curses; we may choose blessings, such as renewable energy.” We are in the early stages of an energy revolution, and if we invest in it and stop financing the culture of death, we will be able to save ourselves,” he remarked.

The renowned Nobel Prize-winning environmentalist further stated that Africa may become the world’s renewable superpower since the continent’s solar and wind technologies have 400 times the potential of all fossil fuels combined.

He urged international leaders and financial institutions to pave the way for a “renewables revolution,” including lower interest rates for African countries.

“The UN Secretary-General just stated we’re on a highway to climate hell, and we need to take our foot off the throttle,” he remarked, emphasizing that any further expansion of fossil fuels is incompatible with keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Finally, he urged leaders to collaborate in order to maximize effect and solve the issue of legitimacy.

“We can muster the political will to accomplish what has to be done; political will is a renewable resource,” he said.

On Monday, the Climate Implementation Summit heard from 50 Heads of State and Government, including France, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Kingdom, and Israel, and by tomorrow, it will have heard from over 100 international leaders.

While US President Joe Biden will not attend the Summit, he will attend COP27 the following week. At the moment, neither China’s nor Russia’s leaders are anticipated to speak. Vlodimir Zelensky, President of Ukraine, will deliver a video greeting.

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Olivier Noudjalbaye Dedingar

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