World leaders, policymakers and delegates from nearly 200 countries gathered at the COP27 U.N. climate summit in Egypt, where they are trying to come up with viable solutions to the so-called “climate hell”, while also having in mind possible societal repercussions that could come from curbing fossil fuel usage. These are the most recent quotes from those attending the summit.
Climate policy must take people’s lives into consideration
“The most important thing besides achieving climate protection goals is to ensure energy security. Today we must say this with all clarity: energy security is a top priority,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Monday.
He added that a “just transformation should help people, not hamper their lives and steep them in poverty. In our part of Europe, we have to have heating over winter, and climate policy must take such factors into consideration.”
#NaŻywo | Prezydent Andrzej Duda wygłasza oświadczenie narodowe podczas sesji plenarnej Konferencji #COP27 https://t.co/nU3NQ27qy9
— Kancelaria Prezydenta (@prezydentpl) November 8, 2022
“We are for a green transition that is equitable and just, instead of decisions that jeopardise our development, including universal access to electricity to which 600 million Africans remain deprived,” stressed Macky Sall, the President of Senegal.
Some country leaders emphasised that the world’s top economies are to blame for climate change. “We should say clearly the rich countries – the top polluters – are the ones who are most to blame for endangering humanity,” Faustin-Archange Touadera, President of the Central African Republic stated.
“Vulnerable countries are rightly concerned about loss and damage caused by other countries’ emissions. That’s certainly the reality for our African friends and partners. To them, I say I hear your call for greater solidarity. The African continent is on the frontline of a climate emergency it did not create,” Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands said.
Today, at the opening ceremony of the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Implementation Summit, world leaders, envoys, delegates, & members of civil society came together in a unified front to further mobilize & prioritize the global climate agenda. #COP27 #TogetherForImplementation pic.twitter.com/LXJzbGFYl3
— COP27 (@COP27P) November 7, 2022
Climate hell, impending catastrophe!
“Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres emphasised at the beginning of the summit. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator,” he added.
I have just warned global leaders at #COP27:
We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.
Our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.
We need urgent #ClimateAction.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) November 7, 2022
“In the face of impending catastrophe, whose warning signs are already unbearably disastrous, weak action is unwise. No action is dangerous,” William Ruto, President of Kenya stressed.
Nothing more important than climate action
French President Emmanuel Macron is one of many world leaders who does not see the war in Ukraine and the rising energy prices as an issue that can possibly slow down climate actions. “We will not sacrifice our commitments to the climate due to the Russian threat in terms of energy so all countries must continue to uphold all their commitments,” he said.
Furthermore, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak seems to agree with the French leader. “Climate security goes hand in hand with energy security, Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine, and rising energy prices across the world are not a reason to go slow on climate change. They are a reason to act faster,” the PM stated.
Great to meet with @EmmanuelMacron today at #COP27. pic.twitter.com/ZC32wKjvPU
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) November 7, 2022
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva even proposed to make fossil fuels more expensive to incentivise a faster transition to renewable energy sources. “Unless we price carbon predictably on a trajectory that gets us at least to USD 75 average price per ton of carbon in 2030, we simply don’t create the incentive for businesses and consumers to shift,” she said.
Untill then we’ll accept your money
In contrast to other world leaders, the UAE president, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, seeing the demand for oil and gas in the world said what is ultimately inevitable, that his country would keep selling oil and gas until that transition is done. “The UAE is considered a responsible supplier of energy and it will continue playing this role for as long as the world is in need of oil and gas,” he emphasised.