'Climate change most dangerous existential challenge,' Sisi tells heads of state, government

Ahram Online , Thursday 22 Sep 2022

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Wednesday that climate change remains the most dangerous existential challenge that is facing the world with its repercussions exacerbating, day after day, as temperatures continue to rise.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucica hold a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, July 20, 2022. AP





In a virtual address to a closed-door meeting of heads of state and government on climate change, El-Sisi called for "a quick and coherent" move to meet climate pledges with the aim of curbing emissions, building resilience, and boosting climate finance for developing countries.

El-Sisi called for relying on objective scientific reports that "unequivocally" confirm that climate change "remains the most dangerous existential challenge to our planet" even with the recent political crises and food, energy, and supply chain challenges that are placing additional burdens on all countries, especially developing nations.

"Perhaps the floods resulting in unprecedented damage and loss of life in the friendly state of Pakistan recently and the unprecedented forest fires caused by rising temperatures in the European continent and the United States are a harsh harbinger of what the future of our children and grandchildren will be like unless we move quickly," El-Sisi stressed.

Wednesday's meeting, co-hosted by President El-Sisi and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, comes nearly two months ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 in the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Speaking on Egypt's view on COP27, El-Sisi said that the international community, regardless the global conditions and political disputes, should not renege on the pledges it made and the policies it adopted.

"As world leaders, we are fully aware that the efforts made do not meet what is required to be achieved," El-Sisi underscored, calling for the adoption of all necessary measures to deliver climate commitments.

These measures include updating the nationally-determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and supporting efforts and initiatives aimed at promoting climate action in partnership with state and non-state actors, the Egyptian president said.

In July, Egypt updated its NDCs, a document required as per the 2015 Paris Agreement featuring each country's moves to pursue domestic mitigation measures. The Egyptian document, first released in 2015, sheds light on the measures Egypt has adopted since 2015 through 2030 to adapt to climate change.

The international community, El-Sisi pointed out, is "fully" aware of the burden placed on developing and least developed countries in order to fulfil their climate commitments, while continuing to make development efforts and eradicate poverty, particularly amid the "unprecedented" food and energy crises.

El-Sisi reiterated the need for developed countries to implement their commitments to developing nations to provide climate finance to reduce harmful emissions, enforce adaptation measures, and increase resilience.

He called for fulfilling the $100-billion pledge and doubling funding for adaptation, or arriving at a consensus in the nearest time possible on the new funding target, beyond 2025.

Turning climate-related pledges into action to help facilitate the transition to green energy to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change as per the Paris Agreement is a top priority at the fast approaching COP27, he added.

The Paris Agreement – adopted at COP21 and signed by over 190 states, including Egypt – came into effect in 2016 with the aim of limiting the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Climate finance, however, has been debated at every COP meeting since, as developed countries have failed to meet their promise to mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing nations with mitigation and adaptation measures.

Only 70 percent of the $100 billion pledged in 2009’s COP, held in Copenhagen, to finance climate action in developing countries has been fulfilled, according to Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change high level champion for Egypt.

However, even if the whole amount had been fulfilled, it would have covered not more than three percent of the required funds to finance climate action in developing countries, Mohieldin stressed.



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