U.N. leader warns summit of “motorway to climate hell”

U.N. leader warns summit of “motorway to climate hell”

Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh — Dozens of world leaders were reminded at Monday’s worldwide climate conference that the only way to “put a stop to all this misery” from “a motorway to climatic hell” is for the world to work together or perish.

Over the next few days, more than a hundred world leaders will speak in an effort to address a worsening problem that experts consider to be the greatest threat facing the planet. On the first day of “high-level” negotiations at this year’s annual U.N. climate conference, COP27, nearly 50 heads of state or government took the stage, with more to follow in the coming days.

Prime Minister Muhammad Sharif of Pakistan, whose country’s summer floods cost at least $40 billion in damages and displaced millions of people, will deliver the keynote address on Tuesday.

“Earth has become a globe of pain…. “Is it not high time to put an end to all this suffering?” the summit host, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, asked his fellow leaders. “Climate change will never cease if we do nothing… Our time here is limited, and we must make the most of every second.

El-Sisi, who called for an end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, was mild compared to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who stated that the world is “on the road to climate hell.”

He advocated for a new agreement between wealthy and impoverished nations to cooperate more closely together, including financial assistance and the phase-out of coal in wealthy nations by 2030 and everywhere else by 2040. He urged the United States and China, the two largest emitters of climate-altering gases, to recommence their former climate-related collaboration, which lasted until recent years.

“Humanity has two options: cooperate or perish,” warned Guterres. It’s either a Climate Solidarity Pact or a Pact for Collective Suicide.

The World Meteorological Association released a report during the summit on Sunday stating, “The last eight years are on track to be the eight warmest on record, due to rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat. Extreme heatwaves, drought, and catastrophic flooding have harmed millions of people and cost billions of dollars this year.

According to the paper, the “telltale indications and effects of climate change,” like the rate of sea level rise and glacial melting, “are getting increasingly dramatic.”

Nevertheless, Guterres’ fiery rhetoric may not have the same impact as it did in previous summits.

Why? Due to lousy timing and individuals who are not present, are arriving late, or are hesitating.

On Monday and Tuesday, the majority of world leaders will convene, coinciding with a possibly policy-altering midterm election in the United States. Then, a few days later, the leaders of the world’s 20 wealthiest nations will hold their exclusive club meeting in Bali, Indonesia. In addition, “there are large climate summits and little climate summits, and this was never meant to be a large one,” said Climate Advisers CEO and former U.S. negotiator Nigel Purvis.

China and India, two of the world’s three largest emitters of carbon dioxide, appear to be absent from the climate negotiations. However, their subordinates are here to negotiate. President Biden, the leader of the second-most polluting nation, will arrive in Bali several days after the majority of other presidents and prime ministers.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak originally intended to avoid the negotiations, but public pressure and his predecessor Boris Johnson’s intention to attend changed his decision. Longtime environmentalist and incoming king Charles III will not attend because of his new position. And Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose invasion of Ukraine caused energy chaos that has reverberated throughout the world of climate negotiations, will not be present.

At a news conference on Sunday, United Nations climate director Simon Stiell stated, “We always want more leaders.” “However, I feel we currently have sufficient (leadership) to achieve a highly fruitful outcome.”

In addition to the leaders’ addresses, the negotiations will involve “creative” roundtable talks that, according to Stiell, “will create really strong insights.”

The majority of the leaders present are from the host continent of Africa.

According to Mohammed Adow of Power Shift Africa, the historical polluters responsible for climate change are not present. Africa is the continent least responsible for climate change and most vulnerable to its effects, and it is also the continent that is standing up and providing leadership.

“The South is truly rising to the occasion,” Adow declared to the Associated Press. “The North, which historically precipitated the issue, is failing.”

Monday will be dominated by leaders of nations that have been negatively affected by climate change, as opposed to those that have contributed to the problem by emitting heat-trapping gases and warming the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. African nations, small island states, and other vulnerable nations will speak their story predominately.

And they are severe ones, such as droughts in Africa and floods in Pakistan, occurring in regions that can least afford it. For the first time in thirty years of climate discussions, the summit should “concentrate on the serious climate impacts we are already experiencing,” according to David Waskow of World Resources International.

Waskow stated, “We cannot disregard an entire continent with over a billion inhabitants and some of the most severe repercussions.” “It is very evident that Africa will be in grave danger”

Purvis stated that leaders come “to share the progress they’ve made at home and to accelerate action.” Mr. Biden has plenty to say about the approval of the first significant climate legislation and $375 billion in spending, he added.

While it is wonderful that so many world leaders are attending the summit, NewClimate Institute scientist Niklas Hohne has modest hopes for the achievement of ambitious climate goals in the next two days. According to him, this is due to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which generated energy and food shortages that impeded climate action.

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