Egypt uses COP27 to draw attention to regional climate issues — IR Insider

While many countries in the Middle East and Africa are already suffering from political unrest, civil war, population growthand the general unstable, increasingly devastating nature of climate change will likely exacerbate much of the human suffering already present in the region.

A heated debate at COP26 which will almost certainly continue this year will be about the role of the developed world in perpetuating climate change, while the developing world will bear the consequences disproportionately. 23 of the world’s richest nations are responsible for half of historical CO2 emissions, while more than 150 other countries are responsible for the remaining 50%. The United States alone emitted almost a quarter of all carbon emissions.

According to a Stanford University study, climate change exacerbates inequalities between rich and poor countries. This is particularly happening in regions like the Middle East and North Africa, where further annual increases in temperature in an already scorching region of the globe account for “a robust and substantial drop in economic output”.

The choice to hold the conference in Egypt has, however, been controversial, due to concerns about human rights abuses in the country. More than 100 NGOs have sign a petition to “emphasize that effective climate action is not possible without open civic space” and to “emphasize the importance of the right to free speech and independent reporting in furthering efforts to address the the climate crisis”. Other critics have suggested that hosting COP27 is a “public relations tool” for the Egyptian government to whitewash its poor human rights record.

Despite these concerns, COP27 will still take place in Egypt and is expected focus on three key topics: reducing global emissions, adapting to the consequences of climate change and ensuring technical and financial support for developing countries to meet these plans.

Teresa H. Sadler