World in crisis a grim backdrop for UN climate talks

AP , Sunday 6 Nov 2022

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

People pass a booth at the convention center hosting the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. AP


U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned last week that the planet was heading toward irreversible "climate chaos'' unless countries find a way to put the world back on track to cut emissions and help poor countries cope with the impacts of global warming.

More than 40,000 participants have been registered for this year's talks, reflecting the sense of urgency as major weather events around the world impact many people and cost billions of dollars in repairs. Egypt said over 120 world leaders will attend, many of them speaking at a high-level event on Nov. 7-8, while U.S. President Joe Biden was expected to arrive later in the week.

But many top figures including China's President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India were not planning to come, casting doubt on whether the talks in Egypt could result in any major deals to cut emissions without two of the world's biggest polluters.

Germany's foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said the talks were being overshadowed by Russia's attack on Ukraine that has triggered political and economic upheaval around the world.

"But 2022 must not become a lost year for climate protection,'' she said in a statement. "For many states, it's about the survival of their population and their culture. For them, the climate crisis remains the most important security issue, not Russia's war in Europe.''

Baerbock said Germany was willing to show solidarity with poor countries, including on the thorny issue of compensation for losses resulting from climate change caused by rich countries' emissions.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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