UN chief tells nations at climate summit to cooperate or die > Dogecointool

UN chief tells nations at climate summit to cooperate or die

The only way for the world to exit the “highway to climate hell” is for nations to work together — or else they risk oblivion, the head of the United Nations warned world leaders as an international climate conference here in Egypt officially opened Monday.

“Humanity has a choice: Cooperate or perish,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “It is either a climate solidarity pact or a collective suicide pact.”

Guterres is among more than 100 leaders who will speak at this year’s annual U.N. climate conference, known as COP27, over the next few days to try deal with what scientists’ call Earth’s biggest challenge. Nearly 50 heads of state or government started to take the stage Monday on the first day of high-level talks.

Much of the focus will be on national leaders telling their stories of being devastated by climate disasters, culminating Tuesday in a speech by Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Sharif, whose country’s catastrophic summer floods caused at least $40 billion in damage and displaced millions of people.

“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 Sisi, the summit host, told 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.’’

Sisi, who also called for an end to the Russia-Ukraine war, was gentle compared to a fiery Guterres, who said the world was “on a highway to climate hell.”

Guterres called for a new pact between rich and poor countries to work closer together, with financial aid and the phasing out of coal in rich nations by 2030 and elsewhere by 2040. He called on the U.S. and China — the two biggest producers of climate-changing emissions — to especially work together on climate, something they used to do until tensions between Washington and Beijing escalated over the last few years.

However, Guterres’ fire-and-brimstone warnings might not have quite the same effect as at past meetings because of the conference’s timing and the roster of leaders who are skipping the event, showing up late or still dithering about whether to come.

Most of the leaders are meeting Monday and Tuesday, just as the U.S. holds potentially power-shifting midterm elections. Then, a few days later, the leaders of the world’s 20 wealthiest nations are to meet in Bali, in Indonesia. Added to that, “there are big climate summits and little climate summits, and this was never expected to be a big one,” said Nigel Purvis, a former U.S. negotiator and CEO of Climate Advisers.

Leaders of two of the three biggest carbon-polluting nations — China and India — appear to be skipping the climate talks, although underlings are here negotiating. President Biden is stopping by days later than most of the other presidents and prime ministers, while on his way to Bali.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was initially going to take a pass on attending, but public pressure and predecessor Boris Johnson’s plans to come changed his mind. New King Charles III, a longtime environment advocate, won’t attend because of his ascension as monarch. And Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose invasion of Ukraine has created energy chaos that reverberates in the world of climate negotiations, won’t be here.

“We always want more” leaders, U.N. climate chief Simon Stiell said at a news conference Sunday. “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 include “innovative’’ roundtable discussions that “we are confident will generate some very powerful insights,” Stiell said.

The leaders showing 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.”

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

And they are dramatic ones: droughts in Africa and floods in Pakistan, in places that could least afford it. For the first time in 30 years of climate negotiations, the summit “should focus its attention on the severe climate impacts we’re already seeing,” said World Resources International’s David Waskow.

“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.

But “my expectations for ambitious climate targets in these two days are very low,” said scientist Niklas Hohne of the NewClimate Institute. That’s because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which caused energy and food crises that took away from climate action, he said.

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