UN Climate Change Conference Opens in Sharm el-Sheikh
The 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) opened on Sunday in Sharm El-Sheikh, in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. More than 90 heads of state and representatives of 190 countries are expected to attend the two-week conference, which hopes to turn global finance pledges into action on climate change.
In his opening address, Egyptian Foreign Minister and COP27 President Sameh Shoukry warned that “climate change threatens human life, and the development pattern in the industrial field which is no longer sustainable must be changed because this will lead to dire consequences.” Shoukry recalled the “painful events” around the world caused by climate change, such as the devastating floods in Pakistan and drought in Africa, and urged the world community to “act quickly to take all necessary measures as per our commitments and pledges.” This, he said, would need to include not only governments but also nonstate actors, such as the private sector, banks, international finance institutions, civil society, youth associations, and indigenous associations. Shoukry lamented that “climate change-related efforts over the past decades were remarkably polarized, which has slowed down progress of the negotiations.” As a result, the pledge to mobilize $100 billion per year has not yet been honored.
His words were echoed by Alok Sharma, president of COP26, which was held in Glasgow, Scotland. “We know that we have reached a point where finance makes or breaks the progress of the program ahead of us,” Sharma said. “This summit must be about concrete actions and I hope when the world leaders join us today, they will explain what their countries achieved during the last year and how they will go further,” the British politician said.