Egypt heatwave and Oman cyclone 'shows looming climate danger'

UK climate envoy calls on countries to deliver on emissions targets ahead of Cop26

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Egypt is set to announce measures to reduce its emissions at the Cop26 summit on climate change in Glasgow next month.

Speaking at the Egypt Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, Environment Minister Dr Yasmine Fouad said the national plan would set the wheels in motion to reduce emissions over the coming years.

She also laid out ambitions to host the next Cop27 climate conference planned by the UN on behalf of Africa.

“We are now less than 30 days away from this important conference and we are starting to see more commitments towards net zero goals and issues impacting on climate change,” Dr Fouad said.

There have been several years of rainfall in just one day in Oman, leading to devastating floods. It is really important we help countries to adapt
Dr John Murton, UK Cop26 envoy

“We have developed five clear strategic goals in alignment with the national sustainable development strategy, Egypt Vision 2030.”

The strategy to boost prosperity focuses on social, economic and environmental aspects.

Climate change is a pressing concern for Egypt, which in August recorded one of its most intense heatwaves yet.

The daytime temperature climbed above 40°C for a week in early August, prompting calls for accelerated measures to address emissions and climate change.

In 2019, Egypt emitted 246.64 million tonnes of carbon, a slight drop from its peak the year before at 251.46 million tonnes, accounting for 0.68 per cent of the world’s output.

The same year, each person in the country’s personal footprint was 2.46 tonnes of carbon.

Dr Fouad said Egypt’s strategy included a transition toward more electric and low-emission buses, and other transport options powered by compressed natural gas, a greener fuel than petrol.

In October 2020, the World Bank approved a $200m (Dh734.5m) grant for Egypt to address environmental issues.

The project aims to improve air quality by reducing air pollutants and carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.

“It is encouraging to see countries like Egypt with the clarity, determination and political firepower to translate these ideas into reality,” said Juergen Voegele, vice president of sustainable development at the World Bank.

“It is something that affects all levels of society and livelihoods, particularly in the Gulf.”

Glasgow will host the 26th UN climate change conference, gathering politicians and the private sector to discuss the latest environmental threats and counteractive measures.

Signatories of the 2015 Paris Agreement, a legally binding climate change treaty, will convene in the Scottish city to reassess their goals and targets.

The global summit calls on nations to commit to a halve their emissions by 2030 and aim for a net zero carbon economy by 2050.

“The breadth of the Paris Agreement is its strength,” said Dr John Murton, the UK government’s Cop26 envoy.

“Nations need to show they can deliver on their goals and strategies. We need to show adaptation and resilience as climate change is being felt around the world.”

Referring to Cyclone Shaheen, a storm that recently left a trail of destruction across Oman, Dr Murton emphasised the need to prepare for extreme weather conditions.

“There have been several years of rainfall in just one day in Oman, leading to devastating floods, so it is really important we help countries to adapt,” he said.

“Our role is not to negotiate a new type of climate change agreement, but demonstrate how powerful the existing agreement is to limit the rise of global temperatures.”

Updated: October 10, 2021, 2:27 PM