World in crisis provides grim backdrop for Cop27 UN climate talks in Egypt

Envoys from around the world have gathered in the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm El-Sheikh for talks on tackling climate change as the world also grapples with multiple crises including the war in Ukraine, high inflation, food shortages and energy shortages.

N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned last week that the planet is headed for irreversible “climate chaos” unless countries find a way to get the world back on track to cut emissions and help poor countries cope to cope with the effects of global warming.

More than 40,000 attendees have registered for this year’s presentations, reflecting the urgency as major weather events around the world affect many people and cost billions to repair.

Egypt said more than 120 leaders will attend, many of whom will speak at a high-level event on November 7-8, while US President Joe Biden is expected to arrive later in the week.


A Cook Islands delegate attends an opening session of the UN climate summit Cop27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (Peter Dejong/AP)

But many senior figures, including China’s President Xi Jinping and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were not planning to attend, raising doubts as to whether the talks in Egypt could result in larger deals to cut emissions without sacrificing two of the world’s biggest polluters.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the talks had been overshadowed by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which had sparked political and economic upheaval around the world.

“But 2022 must not be a lost year for climate protection,” she said in a statement.

“Many states are concerned with the survival of their people and their culture. For them, the climate crisis remains the most important security issue, not Russia’s war in Europe.”

Ms Baerbock said Germany stands ready to show solidarity with poor countries, including on the sensitive issue of offsetting climate change losses caused by emissions from rich countries.

Rights groups on Sunday criticized Egypt for curbing protests and increasing surveillance during the summit.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, citing Egyptian media, said authorities had also arrested dozens of people for calling for protests.


People look at a map after arriving at the Cop27 summit (Peter Dejong/AP)

“It is becoming clear that the Egyptian government has no intention of easing its abusive security measures and allowing freedom of speech and assembly,” said Adam Coogle, the group’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, in a statement.

Human Rights Watch said it joined about 1,400 groups from around the world calling on Egypt to lift restrictions on civil society groups.

Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a prominent imprisoned pro-democracy activist, escalated his hunger strike on Sunday, the first day of Cop27, according to his family.

Mr Abdel-Fattah’s aunt, award-winning novelist Ahdaf Soueif, said he went on a “full hunger strike” and stopped drinking water at 10am local time.

She was concerned he could die without water and urged authorities to release him in response to local and international calls. World in crisis provides grim backdrop for Cop27 UN climate talks in Egypt

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