Cop27 underlines global climate urgency

There is no time to lose, as world leaders declare efforts towards climate action

President Sheikh Mohammed at the Cop27 summit at Sharm Al Sheikh, in Egypt.
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When President Sheikh Mohamed spoke at the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt yesterday, the UAE's resolve was made clear: to accelerate the path of progress in key environmental sectors, and to stay in pursuit of carbon neutrality by 2050.

"Since we have only one planet, it is important to unify our efforts to tackle this challenge through climate work," Sheikh Mohamed said, emphasising the urgency with which countries must act. The UAE's efforts to develop renewable and clean energy to stimulate sustainable economic growth were spelt out. Importantly, Sheikh Mohamed drew attention to the effect that climate change is beginning to have on the world's security and stability.

Reports of food shortages, hunger, increasing droughts and militant groups taking advantage and unleashing terror in already-vulnerable regions are not in short supply. These issues contribute to instability in too many parts of the world, threatening lives and eating into resources.

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was unflinching in his assessment of the climate reality. "We are in the fight of our lives," he said. "And we are losing".

By virtue of geography, Sheikh Mohamed said in his remarks, "the UAE's oil and gas are among the least carbon-intensive in the world. We will continue to reduce emissions in this vital sector".

In a world still grappling with the aftershocks of Covid-19, upheavals in the global economy and the war in Ukraine, these disparate yet intertwined factors pose a great threat to the world and make the challenge of tackling climate change even more arduous. The solutions, in short, are not easy to achieve. Climate finance, for instance, has been dominating talks since even before the summit in Egypt. And the question of climate reparations, or "loss and damage", as Mr Guterres said, "can no longer be swept under the rug".

On the positive side, regional leadership in climate has begun to emerge and many heads of state at the summit have pledged increased commitments to climate action as well as plans to reduce more carbon emissions. The UAE and Egypt entered into an agreement to build one of the world's largest wind farms, a 10-gigawatt onshore wind project in Egypt.

This year, the summit is especially focused on four areas of the climate crisis: mitigation, adaptation, finance and collaboration. None of these present a quick fix, especially as global budgets are still tight. But collaboration is a start and Sheikh Mohamed emphasised the UAE's complete willingness to co-operate with the international community.

In the national statements delivered by several of the heads of state in attendance, similar declarations were heard and they corresponded with the need of the hour – what Mr Guterres referred to at the opening of the summit as "the climate solidarity pact".

Across the world, adhering to the spirit of the Paris Agreement is going to remain a monumental task. There is, however, little other choice. As Mr Guterres said in his impassioned speech, only a narrow shaft of light remains.

Published: November 09, 2022, 2:00 AM