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UN Chief Tells Climate Summit: Cooperate Or Perish

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — The solely option to “put an end to all this suffering” from “a highway to climate hell” is for the world to cooperate or perish, dozens of leaders had been admonished as they gathered Monday for worldwide local weather talks.

More than 100 world leaders will communicate over the subsequent few days to strive take care of a worsening drawback that scientists’ name Earth’s largest problem. Nearly 50 heads of states or governments began to take the stage Monday within the first day of “high-level” talks at this yr’s annual U.N. local weather convention, often called COP27, with extra to return within the following days.

Much of the main target shall be on nationwide leaders telling their tales of being devastated by local weather disasters, culminating Tuesday with a speech by Pakistan Prime Minister Muhammad Sharif, whose nation’s summer season floods precipitated a minimum of $40 billion in harm and displaced hundreds of thousands of individuals.

“The planet has become a world of suffering … is it not high time to put an end to all this suffering,” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the summit host, advised his fellow leaders. “Climate change will never stop without our intervention… Our time here is limited and we must use every second that we have.’’

El-Sisi, who called for an end to the Russia-Ukraine war, was gentle compared to a fiery United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said the world “is on a highway to climate hell.”

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (C), Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (2nd R) and UAE’s President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (R) attend the leaders summit on the second day of the COP27 local weather convention on the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre, in Egypt’s Red Sea resort metropolis of the identical title, on Nov. 7, 2022.

JOSEPH EID through Getty Images

“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” Guterres mentioned. “It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact – or a Collective Suicide Pact.”

The fireplace and brimstone could not fairly have the impact as they’ve had in previous conferences.

Why? Because of dangerous timing and who isn’t exhibiting up, is coming late or is dithering about it.

Most of the leaders are assembly Monday and Tuesday, simply because the United States has a doubtlessly policy-shifting midterm election. Then the leaders of the world’s 20 wealthiest nations may have their powerful-only membership confab in Bali in Indonesia days later. Add to that, “there are big climate summits and little climate summits and this was never expected to be a big one,” mentioned Climate Advisers CEO Nigel Purvis, a former U.S. negotiator.

Leaders of two of the three largest carbon polluting nations — China and India — seem like skipping the local weather talks, though underlings are right here negotiating. The chief of the opposite high polluting nation — U.S. President Joe Biden — is coming days later than a lot of the different presidents and prime ministers on his option to Bali.

Vegan activists carry placards as they demonstrate at the entrance of the Sharm El Sheikh International Convention Centre, in Egypt's Red Sea resort of the same name, on Nov. 7, 2022, during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly known as COP27.
Vegan activists carry placards as they reveal on the entrance of the Sharm El Sheikh International Convention Centre, in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of the identical title, on Nov. 7, 2022, through the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, extra generally often called COP27.

FAYEZ NURELDINE through Getty Images

United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was initially going to keep away from the negotiations, however public stress and predecessor Boris Johnson’s plans to return modified his thoughts. New King Charles III, a longtime atmosphere advocate, gained’t attend due to his new function. And Russia’s chief Vladimir Putin, whose invasion of Ukraine created power chaos that reverberates on the planet of local weather negotiations, gained’t be right here.

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“We always want more” leaders, United Nations local weather chief Simon Stiell mentioned in a Sunday information convention. “But I believe there is sufficient (leadership) right now for us to have a very productive outcome.”

In addition to speeches given by the leaders, the negotiations embrace “innovative’’ roundtable discussions that “we are confident, will generate some very powerful insights,” Stiell mentioned.

The leaders exhibiting up in droves are from the host continent Africa.

“The historical polluters who caused climate change are not showing up,’’ said Mohammed Adow of Power Shift Africa. “Africa is the least responsible, the most vulnerable to the issue of climate change and it is a continent that is stepping up and providing leadership.”

“The South is actually stepping up,” Adow advised The Associated Press. “The North that historically caused the problem is failing.’’

Monday will be heavily dominated by leaders of nations victimized by climate change — not those that have created the problem of heat-trapping gases warming up the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuel. It will be mostly African nations and small island nations and other vulnerable nations that will be telling their stories.

A woman poses for photos at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, on Nov. 7, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
A woman poses for photos at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, on Nov. 7, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

“We can’t discount an entire continent that has over a billion people living here and has some of the most severe impacts,’’ Waskow said. “It’s pretty clear that Africa will be at risk in a very severe way.’’

Leaders come “to share the progress they’ve made at home and to accelerate action,’’ Purvis said. In this case, with the passage of the first major climate legislation and $375 billion in spending, Biden has a lot to share, he said.

While it’s impressive that so many leaders are coming to the summit, “my expectations for ambitious climate targets in these two days are very low,” mentioned NewClimate Institute’ scientist Niklas Hohne. That’s due to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine which precipitated power and meals crises that took away from local weather motion, he mentioned.

Follow AP’s local weather and atmosphere protection at

Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears

Associated Press local weather and environmental protection receives help from a number of personal foundations. See extra about AP’s local weather initiative right here. The AP is solely accountable for all content material.



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