The COP27 & Egypt: A critical analysis
THE COP 27 is in full swing in Egypt. Egypt the land of unlimited civilizations, prophecies, and multiculturalism is once again spreading hope of breakthrough in global efforts to mitigate looming threats of climate change.
The successful holding of COP27 has further enhanced Egyptian diplomatic stature and green energy pursuits in the international communities which is confronting with different conflicting socio-economic realities and geopolitical & geostrategic contradictions about the phasing out fossil fuels.
Egypt will take on the role of COP27 President with a pledge to turn words into action on climate change.
It seems that the Egyptian government holds the role of COP27 President with a vision of turning planning into implementation.
The Egyptian government is of the view that the climate change aggravates social, economic and environmental threats due to which an urgent action is needed to save the planet.
It emphasizes that international community should also harmonise global effects to realise commitments and pledges on tackling climate change and realise a sustainable future for all.
Egypt is also working to ensure youth organisations are given a prominent role at COP27 and Dr Omnia El Omran has been named as youth envoy for the conference, to promote the perspective of young people both in the run-up to the event and during negotiations.
In his keynote speech in the COP27 the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi praised the integrated efforts of the UNFCCC for mitigation of the climate change.
He termed COP27 a golden opportunity to showcase unity against an existential threat and suggested a concerted action and effective implementation to control incidents of the global warming.
He upholds that Egypt will spare no effort to ensure that COP27 becomes the moment when the world moved from negotiation to implementation and where words were translated to actions, and where we collectively embarked on a path towards sustainability, a just transition and eventually a greener future for coming generations.
Hopefully the Egypt’s just stance will further institutionalize the concept of Climate Justice in the days to come.
During his speech, President Sisi urged participants to be flexible in negotiations to agree that can save the planet from rising temperatures.
He further elaborated that the time has arrived, the time to work. He termed the COP27 as a defining moment in the life of our planet.
He pledged that the introduction of loss and damage to the agenda will be of particular interest to Africa, which Egypt has selected to champion its climate change-related demands from the industrialised world.
The Egyptian foreign minister pleaded to restore the ‘grand bargain’ whereby developing countries agreed to increase their efforts to tackle a crisis for which they are far less responsible, in return for appropriate financial support and other means of implementation.
Egypt is not without its significant financial needs to mitigate and combat climate change.
In an updated submission to the UN this year, Egypt said it faced a $246bn funding shortfall to meet its 2030 climate targets.
The goal of the international climate meeting of COP 27 in Egypt is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to temperatures in the late 1800s.
Even at that level, communities will experience more dangerous storms, flooding and heat waves.
It’s still possible to avoid such widespread calamities, but only if countries move far more aggressively to cut the pollution driving climate change.
The Earth has warmed about 1 degree Celsius so far. If countries, including the United States, follow through on current promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the latest estimates suggest that Earth’s temperature will still top out around 2.8 degrees Celsius of warming.
Interestingly, China showed it’s willing to contribute to a mechanism for compensating poorer countries for losses and damage caused by climate change.
The Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua speaking at the COP27 environmental conference in Egypt said China had no obligation to participate but stressed his solidarity with those calling for more action from wealthy nations on the issue, and outlined the damage China had suffered from climate-linked weather extremes.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan would need debt relief and would seek compensation for climate damage as it recovers from catastrophic floods that cost the country some $30 billion.
Speaking at the COP27 climate conference alongside United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the premier said that Pakistan’s escalating public debt was hampering its recovery.
Meanwhile, Guterres urged international financial institutions like the World Bank and leaders at the upcoming G20 summit in Indonesia to reform policies that govern debt relief and concessional loan decisions so as to help middle-income countries like Pakistan focus on rebuilding rather than repayment.
According to the International Energy Agency, Egypt currently gets more than 90 percent of its electricity from natural gas and oil.
The policy makers urge the development of green and renewables in Egypt to tackle climate change.
Egypt is striving hard to change in its energy matrix in terms of the integration of renewable energy, of electrification, of transport.
In recent years, Egypt has intensified efforts to embrace alternative renewable energy and shift away from fossil fuel dependency.
In this connection, El-Sissi’s government aims to generate 42 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2035.
To conclude, Egypt’s energy situation is changing fast.With more than 100 million people and a GDP growth rate of 5.6 percent, the country’s energy demand is ever-increasing.
The government of Egypt badly needs a sustainable, resilient energy system to embark on an ambitious energy policy reform program, including a set target to have 40 percent of its electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2035.
It is transforming its energy market by investing in energy efficiency that has reduced significantly the sharp spike in electricity demand, diversifying its energy mix by investing more in alternative renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy.
Interestingly, with UNDP’s support, the government of Egypt has supported integrated system in the country’s lighting market by enabling an uptake in energy-efficient lighting systems, with more than 200 million LED bulbs sold in Egypt since 2015.
The Egyptian government has succeeded to show the true spirits of the COP27 by urging all the countries and stakeholders to work jointly by shifting from words to implementation phase to rescue the planet.
—The writer is Executive Director, Centre for South Asia & International Studies, Islamabad, regional expert China, BRI & CPEC & senior analyst, world affairs, Pakistan Observer.