Glasgow is preparing to host 197 countries at the 26. It is imperative, the world is unanimous, the conference makes key recommendations.
In the meantime, Egypt is preparing to host COP27 next year.
One of the current challenges is to keep global warming below 1.5 ° C, said the British government’s climate chief, Alok Sharma, who heads COP26. Sharma told the media that it aims to cut CO2 emissions by 45 percent by 2030. The $ 100 billion pledged by the industrialized countries is no longer enough, he added, pointing out that it takes trillions of dollars a year.
In any case, the industrialized countries only paid $ 79 billion. Three-quarters of the amount was paid out in 2018 in the form of repayable loans, putting more chips on the shoulders of poor countries.
The world has high hopes for COP26, especially given the challenges posed by the coronavirus and demands from countries to work on zero-emission measures, said Egyptian Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad. Egypt and the UK jointly chaired a coalition on climate adaptation and resilience at the 2019 Climate Change Summit, called for by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The issue of resilience and adaptation is of paramount importance for developing countries as they are most affected by the effects of climate change. Seven resilience and adaptation initiatives have been prepared and can be implemented as the funds become available. The most important of these is the African Energy Initiative announced by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, said Fouad.
She explained that Egypt has taken several steps to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as the interactive map that identifies the areas most at risk from climate change to prevent urban expansion. The Minister for Water Resources and Irrigation is also working on the same path, she added. Egypt received a $ 34 million grant to build dams in Rosetta, Kafr Al-Sheikh and on the north coast to meet the challenges of sea level rise. Fouad said COP27 was a good opportunity to get more funding to counter the dangers of climate change.
Egypt established criteria for the selection of the COP27 Climate Action Champion, a person responsible for mobilizing stronger and more ambitious climate action, said Fouad. The country is also encouraging the business community to do more for the environment while attracting investment in the area. It also employs mechanisms to encourage the private sector to participate. The prime minister is the chairman of the National Council on Climate Change, she noted.
A national strategy for climate change and another for adaptation have been drawn up, involving the private sector, youth and civil society, and innovative measures have been taken to address the effects of climate change, she added. The link between climate change, biodiversity and desertification was one of the important points Egypt wanted to highlight during its presidency of COP14 of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
In addition, Egypt is pursuing its efforts to assist the African continent in the climate negotiations and the Paris Agreement and to develop the two African Adaptation and Renewable Energy Initiatives, Fouad said, noting that the African Renewable Energy Initiative is an ongoing project.
The minister said that Egypt expressed his appreciation to the African Union and the African Commission for their support to Egypt in the implementation of COP27 – Egypt is the representative of Africa. The country is aware of the challenges Africa faces in reducing carbon emissions, she said, pointing out that COP27 is an opportunity to support African demands and help the continent raise the funds it needs to procure the implementation of adjustment plans.
At COP26, Egypt will present its success story in expanding renewable energies, continued Fouad.
Emadeddin Adli, head of the Egyptian Forum on Sustainable Development, said civil society organizations always seek to partner with the government in combating climate change. There are many models, activities and initiatives that are being implemented in collaboration with the government to protect the environment and avoid the negative effects of climate change.
Egypt and Africa’s carbon emissions are estimated to be less than five percent of global emissions, the majority of which are caused by the US, Japan and Europe, Adli said. Emissions affect the world’s water and food security, so Egypt is making adaptation to climate change a high priority, which can pose a number of challenges, such as drought due to the lack of rain – and water in general with the increase in Population – which is the salinity of the earth and the rise in sea levels affecting much of the delta and agricultural land, he explained.
Magdi Allam, advisor to the world climate program and secretary general of the Union of Arab Environmental Experts, said temperatures are expected to rise by 1.5 ° C by 2025. Developing countries are paying the price for Europe’s industrial progress, Allam said, adding that the periodic climate change agreement meetings that Egypt and a multitude of countries have signed produce annual reports on climate change.
River deltas experience sea water level rise after the Arctic ice melts, increasing the salinity of farmland and water, leading to waterlogging, Allam said, explaining that 20 percent of Egypt’s delta coasts are affected by sea level rise and salinity of the water. A $ 300 million Coastal Protection and Irrigation Department project is underway to counteract erosion and rise in Mediterranean water above the delta surface.
Sea levels are expected to rise 50 cm above the ground around the world in the near future, Allam warned.
Egypt needs $ 30 billion to repair Egypt’s irrigation system and counteract the effects of climate change, he said, pointing out that Egypt has spent $ 750 million to deal with the effects of climate change.
Developed countries “heated up the surface of the earth and the atmosphere, creating a difficult-to-repair hole in the atmosphere,” said Allam. “The only solution is to reduce the CO2 emissions caused by 20 leading industrialized countries. The European Union is the only committed bloc. The US, China, India and Russia are still producing emissions that increase global warming. “
Ahmed Kamal Abdel-Moneim, executive director of the Office for Environmental Compliance and Sustainable Development at the Egyptian Industry Association, said the office and the association are participating in COP26. On the sidelines of the summit, the office is holding an event on November 3rd with representatives from the private sector to share their success stories.
* A printed version of this article will appear in the October 28, 2021 issue of Al-Ahram Weekly