The Climate Summit starts: the keys to the first days

The Climate Summit starts
The Climate Summit starts: the keys to the first days
  • The opening session of COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh has been marked by the absence of China, the US, India and Russia.
  • In his inaugural speech, Pedro Sánchez spoke about the roadmap for the decarbonization of the Spanish economy by 2050, which Ecologistas en Acción already described as insufficient and not adequate to the criteria of science.
  • The Government of Tuvalu has formally requested a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and has thus joined the request already made by Vanuatu, its neighboring Pacific country.
  • Civil society organizations have denounced that this year, due to the repression of the Egyptian Regime, an alternative summit of groups and NGOs cannot be held.

World leaders who attend the event on private flights. Inaugural speeches that ignore countries' inability to comply with science and climate justice. Important absences such as that of China, the US, India and Russia show, according to Ecologistas en Acción, “the lack of commitment of the most emitting powers to the issues to be discussed during this meeting.” And a civil society that is beginning to organize to carry out actions within the Blue Zone because, this year, the totalitarian Government of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who holds the Presidency of the Climate Summit, has not allowed the holding of an alternative climate summit. social movements. This is how COP27 began in the Egyptian city of Sharm El Sheikh.

During the inaugural presentations by heads of state and senior officials from different countries throughout Monday, November 7 and Tuesday, November 8, great words and declarations of intentions were heard. Some of them have recognized the enormous impacts that climate change is already causing and even mention has been made of fossil fuels and the serious emergency situation in which we find ourselves. But there are very few country leaders who have issued clear demands about the commitments and agreements to be reached during this meeting.

In the inaugural speeches, Western countries (former colonial powers) have also been heard expressing solidarity with the most vulnerable countries and admitting the alarming and urgent situation that countries—such as the small Pacific islands—repeatedly warn about. However, it has been the countries of the global South that have been most critical, forceful and with concrete demands.

On financing issues, the President of Kenya, William Ruto—as representative of the African Group—has clearly questioned confidence in the ongoing process, since until now all countries have been unable to mobilize those 100 billion dollars from the Fund. Green for Climate promised in 2010.

Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados and one of the most critical voices in the inaugural speeches, has also pointed out the need to stop talking and take action at this COP27, while thanking the efforts of several countries such as Belgium or Denmark that have already committed to allocate funding under the loss and damage framework.

For his part, the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Kausea Natano, has called for the formal creation of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. It thus becomes the second country to do so, joining the request already made by Vanatu, its neighboring country in the Pacific. A request that, in the opinion of social and environmental organizations, “can contribute to giving a boost to this objective, just as happened at similar moments with the treaty proposals to confront the threat of nuclear weapons, landmines and chemical weapons.”

Ecologists in Action, which is present in Sharm El Sheikh following the negotiations, recalled that the obligation of leaders is “to act, and develop the measures and transfers of funds necessary to confront the climate emergency, not to give speeches that have already been made.” heard hundreds of times.”

Adaptation to drought and decarbonization of the economy, Pedro Sánchez's proposal

Pedro Sánchez attended the meeting as the highest representative of the Spanish Government and took the opportunity to present the launch – together with the Government of Senegal – of a platform for adaptation to the effects of the drought. During his speech he mentioned the enormous challenges that our country faces in terms of water, although, according to Ecologistas en Acción “the Doñana problem has been reduced to an exclusively climatic issue since Sánchez has limited himself to mentioning the problems caused by the reduction of rains, changes in the coastline and the penetration of saline water into the aquifers.”

As on many other occasions, the environmental organization once again points out how the water policy carried out by the Hydrographic Confederations is negligent and represents one of the factors that is most aggravating the problem. In the case of Doñana, the overexploitation of the legal and illegal aquifer, the lack of control of discharges or the growth of irrigated hectares are some of the most pressing problems that the Government should urgently address. A case that is not exclusive to the Guadalquivir basin, but is repeated throughout the country, where the excess of irrigated crops or the non-existent control over hydroelectric management are accelerating the desertification of the territory and increasing the degradation of ecosystems.

The President of the Government, in line with the rest of the European countries, has also insisted on his commitment to the climate emergency and has spoken of the roadmap for the decarbonization of the Spanish economy by 2050. A plan that, according to Ecologists in Action, ignores scientific indications, since “the contemplated reductions are incapable of guaranteeing a reduction in line with the 1.5 °C horizon proposed by the IPCC, which should lead to reducing more than 55 % of emissions in 2030 and reaching emissions neutrality in 2040.”

Ecologistas en Acción has also pointed out that Sánchez's speech on decarbonization is contradictory with the steps taken in recent months by the EU and Spain. These steps encourage the use of these fuels, especially gas, such as, for example: the commitment to underwater gas pipelines such as the BarMar or the Barcelona-Livorno gas pipeline, the opening of regasification plants such as the Musel or the increase in gas imports and exports in our country. territory.

Regarding financing, the environmental organization has assessed that the additional financing commitments announced by Spain, although very necessary, are insufficient to respond to the challenge ahead and the demands of the global South. Likewise, these commitments are far from the increase of up to 1,350 million euros promised at the last COP26. However, he has positively highlighted the commitment to the adaptation fund to which the Spanish State has allocated 93 million, becoming the fourth largest contributor to the fund.

Finally, Ecologistas en Acción has missed in Sánchez's intervention a clear mention of full respect for human rights. The environmental organization, as part of the civil society present in Sharm El Sheikh, has demanded that the European and Spanish delegations bring to the COP27 Presidency the claim of the Egyptian organizations “without human rights there is no climate justice” and demand amnesty for political prisoners in the African country.