INTERVIEW: Egypt is taking extensive steps towards green transformation, says US adviser to climate envoy

Sahar Zahran, Thursday 14 Jul 2022

Ambassador David Thorne, Senior Adviser to the Climate Envoy in the United States, expressed his happiness with his recent visit to Egypt as part of the expanded conference organized by the Egyptian-American Chamber of Commerce, which was attended by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and a number of ministers, officials and businessmen. The visit coincided with a visit to Egypt by the US Green Trade Mission delegation, which included representatives from about 40 American companies.

Sahar Zahran   Ambassador David Thorne
Ambassador David Thorne, Senior Adviser to the Climate Envoy in the United States of America with his interviewer Sahar Zahran as they pose for an image.

Thorne said in an interview with Al-Ahram in Washington that the Egyptian government is taking extensive steps towards green transformation, is exerting great efforts in preparing for the upcoming climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, and that Egyptian-American coordination in this regard is at the highest levels.

Thorne praised the efforts of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in this vital issue, especially his announcement at the World Economic Forum that Egypt had joined the global pledge on methane, which Thorne described as a welcome step in the US and internationally.

Ahram Online: Egypt is hosting the COP27 climate summit at the end of this year, and you visited Egypt recently to discuss the climate issue. What is required for the success of this summit? 

David Thorne: We need to follow through on implementing existing goals and commitments and continue to increase ambition to keep a 1.5-degree Celsius limit on temperature rise within reach and to enhance adaptation efforts. We see two key objectives. The first is ensuring that countries whose 2030 emission targets are not yet aligned with the Paris temperature goal strengthen their targets this year, as called for in Glasgow. The second is strengthening adaptation efforts to help countries cope with climate impacts that cannot be avoided. President Biden and President El-Sisi announced at the recent Major Economies Forum meeting that Egypt and the United States will partner at COP27 to focus on tangible steps to strengthen adaptation efforts in Africa.

AO: In your opinion, what is required of countries to address the climate crisis? 

DT: We don’t have time to waste. The window for limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is rapidly narrowing. We are calling the 2020s the decisive decade because we have to act quickly and ambitiously if we want to prevent global temperature from rising above 1.5 and spare people and the planet from the worst consequences of the climate crisis.  

AO: Poor countries are the most negatively affected by climate change, so what is your role in helping these countries? 

DT: We are strongly committed to helping vulnerable countries and communities adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change. President Biden’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) will help empower developing countries and communities by providing adaptation finance, climate information, and support to increase climate resilience related to food, water, infrastructure, and health. We also are very pleased to partner with Egypt to address adaptation in Africa, as announced by President Biden and President El-Sisi. 

AO: Last year set new records in the concentration of greenhouse gases, the rise in sea levels, the warming of the oceans and ocean acidification. Will the world be able to mitigate the effects of climate change? 

DT: The recent IPCC reports make it clear that we still have options, but we are running out of time. This is why it is crucial that we implement existing goals and commitments and continue to raise our ambition. 

AO: The success of mitigating the effects of climate change can only be achieved through private sector financing and investments. What are the most important areas that should be supported and financed by the private sector in this regard? 

DT: The private sector is a crucial partner in combating the climate crisis, from setting and implementing net zero targets to supporting increased resilience and aligning financial flows with a green future. Many companies are setting ambitious goals and shifting investment toward climate solutions. We must accelerate these efforts to deliver the trillions of dollars needed to achieve the net-zero transition. Our First Movers Coalition is driving innovative technology by mobilising market demand for green steel, green cement, green fuels and other climate-friendly products. It’s also critical that we strengthen private investment in climate adaptation.

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