Sisi to stress the need for equity in international responsibility to combat global warming

Dina Ezzat , Sunday 31 Oct 2021

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi arrived in Glasgow, Scotland earlier today, where he will head the Egyptian delegation in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 26).

Glasgow
Final preparations are made for the start of The Procedural Opening of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on October 31, 2021. AFP

The Glasgow meeting is being referred to as ‘the last chance conference’ to get world leaders to agree on the mechanism to implement the steps required to keep global warming at less than 2 degrees Celsius — preferably at 1.5 Celsius.

The objective is to avoid a disastrous increase of 2.7 Celsius during this century, which could have major impacts on agriculture, biodiversity, and water resources. 

In the Paris 2015 Climate Conference, world leaders agreed on what needs to be done to reduce global warming. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting down on the use of fossil fuels were the top items on the list of measures agreed upon in the Paris Agreement.

Given the slow level of implementation and unsatisfactory results so far, world leaders need to agree on a ‘rulebook’ in Glasgow to secure a better and prompt implementation of the 2015 agreement.

Essential to this is developed countries’ — which cause 80 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions yearly — commitment to take the necessary steps to implement carbon neutrality and to honour the so far overlooked pledge to provide $100 billion to help developing countries meet the agreed upon targets.

The issue of financing international action against global warming was put on the agenda of the G20 meetings in Rome that were held earlier today. Reports coming out of the Italian capital, however, revealed that there was no breakthrough on the issue.

“Without clear guidelines on the issue of finance, it would be very hard for developing countries, including middle powers like Egypt, to move as fast as we would all wish to address global warming,” commented an informed government source.

In Glasgow, world leaders are expected to discuss timeframes on the implementation of the Paris 2015 targets. However, without an agreement on the finance, it would be very hard for developing countries to meet any of the anticipated deadlines.

Developing countries complain that they are contributing less to greenhouse gas emissions but are suffering the brunt of the devastating impact of global warming and are expected to honour commitments without sufficient financial support and technology transfer.

Egypt is growing more concerned about the rise in the Mediterranean Sea’s water level, which poses a serious threat to the country’s Delta region. Global warming has also led to longer heatwaves that are having a disturbing impact on the country’s food crops and water supply.

In Glasgow, President El-Sisi is expected to underline Egypt’s commitment to combat climate change and to review the steps thus far taken in terms of moving to green energy and investing in a green economy.

He is also expected to share Egypt’s growing concerns on the impact of climate change on its resources.

Moreover, the president is expected to stress the need to divide responsibilities equitably among the countries of the world to keep the global temperature’s rate of increase beneath 2 degrees Celsius.

“Egypt has been on board with the international environmental agenda right from the beginning, but we have to work within a balance between national development objectives and international climate change commitments,” the source said.

He added that “our position is that we will honour international obligations within the scope of our national strategies.”
 
In Glasgow, world leaders will be discussing the sequence of adaptation, resilience, and mitigation to confront climate change.

“We are fully committed to engage, but if the world wants to be serious about action and not just plans of action, it needs to be clear about providing the required support for countries whose national budget cannot allow any added strains and whose development requirements cannot be cut down,” the government official said.

On his way from the G20 to the COP 26, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he expects that the climate change conference talks will be difficult. However, Johnson warned that without a serious commitment, the world would be taking very high environmental risks.

According to press statements made earlier this week by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the world cannot afford a failure in Glasgow.

“The risks are far too high,” he said.

According to alarming voices in the scientific community, a failure to keep tabs on global warming means larger and more frequent wildfires, a loss of 30 percent of species, longer and tougher droughts, longer and more intense heatwaves, and a devasting rise in sea-level.

International work on countering global warming started in the first UN Summit on Climate Change in Rio De Janeiro in 1992. It was not till 2015, in Paris, that world leaders finally came to terms on a coherent plan of action.

This plan of action requires a considerable boost from the Glasgow conference so that it may finally be implemented.

The COP 26 was initially scheduled to convene in 2020 but had to be postponed for a year due the pandemic.

On behalf of Africa, Egypt is expected to host the COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh in 2022.

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