Egypt says it hopes King Charles will attend COP27, urges UK not to backslide on climate pledges

Amr Kandil , Tuesday 25 Oct 2022

Egypt, as host of the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), hopes the UK’s King Charles III can attend the event in Sharm El-Sheikh next month, said Egyptian chief climate negotiator Mohamed Nasr on Tuesday.

King Charles III
File Photo: King Charles III waves as he walks into Buckingham Palace after greeting the crowd. AFP


In a virtual press briefing, Ambassador Nasr, director of the environment, climate and sustainable development department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that there is an open invitation for King Charles to attend COP27.

King Charles has been a very strong advocate for climate action and a role model in this regard, Nasr told reporters, adding that the king has acted as an example for “how royalty can push for the climate agenda.”

The king is a committed environmentalist with a long history of campaigning for better conservation, organic farming and tackling climate change.

Early in October, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the king will not attend the climate conference in Egypt, scheduled for 6-18 November, based on an advice he sought from then-prime minister Liz Truss.

Truss resigned last Thursday only six weeks after she took over from Boris Johnson, after her economic plan caused markets to reel and threatened the UK's financial stability.

Egypt has expressed disappointment over reports that King Charles would not attend COP27, and said it hoped the UK would not “backtrack from the global climate agenda,” the Guardian reported, citing a COP27 spokesperson as saying.

Addressing new UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who officially became the new UK PM on Tuesday, Nasr said he hopes that the economic challenges that the UK is facing “do not lead to backsliding on [climate] pledges.”

“We hope for the UK’s [climate] leadership role to continue,” Nasr said, adding that he expects the UK will come with a new round of pledges for adaptation and other climate fields in Sharm El-Sheikh.

While Sunak has affirmed his commitment to maintaining the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, he had previously voted in parliament against measures to lower emissions.

Sunak's record on climate action has been labelled as “mixed,” reported the Independent.

During the press briefing, Nasr said he also hopes US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be able to attend COP27.

“The two countries are leading on climate change and their cooperation has always been instrumental in allowing for progress on climate change," Nasr stated.

Climate talks, geopolitical tensions

As a host country, Egypt measures success in COP27 by avoiding a "spillover of other issues into the climate change negotiations," Nasr said.

Nasr said he hopes the difficult geopolitical scene does not affect the negotiations and that the different parties focus on dealing with climate change.

The Egyptian COP27 presidency late last month urged countries to “put aside political differences” over the Russia-Ukraine war and collaborate to move forward on climate action.

The presidency warned that the war in Europe would surely have an impact on the global effort to combat climate change, including by affecting energy and food prices and through the animosity that the military conflict is causing.

The presidency asked everyone to rise to the occasion and to show leadership, and said the unfolding geopolitical situation should not be used as a pretext for backsliding on climate pledges.

World leaders' summit, COP27 success

The world leaders' summit, which will take place on 7-8 November, is estimated to include 90-plus heads of state and government as well as representatives from the private sector, civil society, NGOs, and think tanks, Nasr said.

The summit will discuss six main topics at roundtables, Nasr said, including a just transition, hydrogen as the future of energy, food security and climate, climate change’s impact on water security, climate change’s impact on vulnerable communities and sustainability, and innovative finance, he explained.

The summit, which is dubbed the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Implementation Summit, will see world leaders reaffirm their commitment to climate action, Nasr noted.

The Egyptian COP27 presidency is concerned with ensuring the presence of political commitment of the heads of states to climate action, engagement of stakeholders and the private sector, Nasr said, noting that these are among the elements of COP27 success.

The COP27 success depends on extent of delivery on the issues of loss and damage, climate finance, mitigation, and adaptation, he said.

He confirmed that the Egyptian presidency has a priority to see fossil fuels specifically being tackled in any COP27 agreement.

In September, Egypt's COP27 presidency said its vision to advance climate action at COP27 involves collaboration between governments, private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders.

Canceling side events on 7 November

The side events of COP27 will be cancelled on 7 November, which is the first day of the world leaders' summit, Nasr confirmed.

Nasr denied that canceling the events is linked to security issues, saying that the reason behind the decision is “pure logistics.”

“It is just to make sure that the mobility of people is fine and that nobody faces challenges like standing in the sun or waiting in long queues,” Nasr said.

Egypt is coordinating with international partners to focus on the need to cut emissions dramatically and keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C within reach.

Egypt is also encouraging countries to update their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement to ensure finding a pathway to achieve the 1.5°C objective.

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