LONDON: As they prepare to host in November the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference, commonly referred to as COP27, Egyptian hosts called on countries to put aside their political differences to concentrate on the climate crisis, the Guardian reported.
The UN climate summit, which will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, will seek to build on the many carbon-cutting pledges made by participating companies and countries at COP26 in Glasgow last November.
However, the world’s geopolitical situation has shifted dramatically in the last year.
The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has not only had significant implications for the global energy and food markets, but it has also made facilitating climate talks far more difficult.
The diplomatic standoff between the US and China, the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gasses, is another impediment to progress.
Wael Aboulmagd, the Egyptian government’s special representative for COP27, called on countries to focus on the urgency of the climate crisis and to continue negotiations despite any political tensions, the Guardian said.
“Animosity will have a cost. We as responsible diplomats ask everyone to rise to the occasion and show leadership,” Aboulmagd said on Wednesday. “Put political differences aside and come together.”
Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, countries have a diplomatic responsibility to carry out negotiations irrespective of the external political context.
However, during a UN climate meeting in Bonn in June, some nations staged a walkout when Russia took to the conference floor before later returning.
Aboulmagd said countries must not use the geopolitical issues that have occurred since COP26 to divert attention away from their inaction, according to the Guardian.
“Show more ambition. I urge everyone not to use this unfolding geopolitical situation as a pretext for backsliding,” he said.
Aboulmagd added that rising fossil fuel prices should instead serve as an incentive to find alternatives.
“I hope and urge everyone to take the right lesson from this: that overdependence on fossil fuels is problematic, and we need to expedite the transition to renewable energy.”
He reminded all countries who were present in Glasgow of the importance of cooperating to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of extreme weather.
“Set aside the adversarial zero-sum approach. With this most existential threat, we need to act to save lives and livelihoods. There is no time for delays, no pretext for not acting or backtracking.”