The road to COP27

Al-Ahram Weekly Editorial
Thursday 4 Nov 2021

During his speech at the United Nations Climate Change Summit President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi said the urgency and universality of the issue prompted Egypt to implement a sustainable development model centred on increasing green projects to 50 per cent by 2025 and 100 per cent by 2030.

“For example, renewable energy sources currently represent 20 per cent of the Egyptian energy mix, and we are working to increase it to 42 per cent by 2030,” he said.

He also noted that the Egyptian state has recently issued the first offering of green bonds with a value of $750 million, adding that Egypt has completed preparing the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050 in order to institutionalise efforts to confront the issue.

Earlier this week, the city of Glasgow in the United Kingdom hosted the participants in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in a global atmosphere fraught with concern over the dangers of climate change, which reinforces the importance of the 26th round of the conference coming out with decisive results.

The climate change summit is known by the acronym COP26, which stands for “The 26th Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

The summit brought together 197 countries, with the aim of discussing the issue of climate change and finding solutions to thorny problems.

One of the most important challenges in this context is limiting the rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to the President of the United Nations Climate Change Conference Alok Sharma, who stressed the need to reduce emissions by 45 per cent by 2030.

Sharma believes that the $100 billion that industrialised countries have pledged to contribute to achieve this goal “is no longer enough because the world needs trillions annually”.

In any case, major countries only fulfilled the amount of $79 billion out of the $100 billion pledged. Moreover, in 2018, three-quarters of those pledges were disbursed in the form of loans that need to be repaid, which will put a strain on poor countries.

Since President Al-Sisi launched the initiative to link the three conventions (climate change, biological diversity and desertification) at the opening of the Egyptian Presidency of the Biodiversity Conference in 2018 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt has been seeking continuous cooperation with the United Kingdom, supporting efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change through the Egyptian-British coalition.

Egypt partnered with the United Kingdom to take the lead on the issue of sources of adaptation and resilience at the climate summit held in New York in 2019, on the understanding that the axis of resilience and adaptation is the most important priority axis for developing countries which are the most affected.

A total of seven initiatives have been put together as part of the flexibility and adaptation plan, ready to be implemented once funding becomes available, with the African energy initiative announced by the Egyptian president being the most important.

During afringe event organised at COP26, Egypt will present its success story in expanding renewable energy and green transformation; its work on the African adaptation initiative, which aims to enable African countries to access the funds necessary to implement adaptation measures; as well as its work to achieve equal proportions in financing adaptation and mitigation alike - among the issues to be highlighted by Egypt during the climate conference.

Egypt aspires to host COP27 as a representative of the African continent in order to provide a platform for new and ambitious commitments that develop innovative solutions to achieve progress in the face of climate change.

It also aims to host next year’s conference to build on the previous session of the climate change conference in Africa, which was held in Morocco in 2016.

The Morocco conference marked the starting point of a roadmap for action that Africa can take to overcome the negative effects of climate change on the continent despite the fact that Africa contributes the lowest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions.

Egypt also aims to host COP27 to affirm its commitment to work with all countries to consolidate efforts with all parties and stakeholders to confront climate change and strengthen climate action.

The world attaches great hopes to COP26, especially in the light of the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, and the demands of countries to raise ambition, update climate indicators and develop work on zero-emission measures.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 4 November, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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