The global climate summit Cop27 opens today in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, as world leaders, scientists, and activists gather for the next two weeks to hash out the pacts urgently needed to limit planetary catastrophe.
It has been a tumultuous 12 months since the last summit in Glasgow. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to global energy shortfalls, triggering cost of living crises in rich countries and leaving some poorer nations on the brink of famine.
There has also been a wave of disasters triggered by the climate crisis – from devastating flooding in Pakistan and western and central Africa, to wildfires and deadly heatwaves across Europe, and Hurricane Ian’s decimation of Florida.
A deluge of new scientific reports warn that the world remains far off-track in preventing further dangerous temperature rise.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned this week the 2020s are a “crucial” decade, “when the global climate fight will be won or lost”.
The planet’s carbon footprint must be cut nearly in half by the end of the decade to hold back from dangerous temperature rise.
No progress without global leadership, says UK’s former climate envoy
Boris Johnson to warn against climate change ‘defeatism’
23:01 , Joe Middleton
Boris Johnson will issue a rallying call to not to allow “defeatism” in the face of the worsening economic situation to undermine the fight against global warming.
The former prime minister, who is attending the Cop27 climate change summit in Egypt, will warn on Monday a “corrosive cynicism” is jeopardising efforts to wean the world away from fossil fuels.
In a rare public intervention since being ousted from No 10 earlier this year, he will insist it is still possible to achieve the goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5C - avoiding the worst effects of climate change.
“Because the spike in oil and gas prices - and the consequent global inflation, the hikes in the cost of fertiliser and food have had an impact here and everywhere, they have led some naysayers to a corrosive cynicism about net zero,” he will tell a Climate Forward event organised by The New York Times.
“We must end the defeatism that has crept in since last year, we must end Putin’s energy blackmail, we must keep up our campaign to end global dependence on hydrocarbons, and if we retain the spirit of creative and promethean optimism that we saw at Paris and Glasgow, then we can keep 1.5 alive.”
Cop27: Rishi Sunak accused of ‘vacuum of leadership’ as climate summit gets underway
22:36 , Joe Middleton
Rishi Sunak has been accused of a “vacuum of leadership”, as he arrives at the make-or-break Cop27 summit to a warning that climate breakdown is now close to being “irreversible”.
The prime minister’s claim to be “at the forefront” of global efforts to avert disaster was ridiculed after his initial refusal to attend the crucial conference – and with “a yawning chasm” between government promises and action.
As he left for Egypt, for one night only, Mr Sunak argued it is still possible to “limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees”, the point above which runaway climate change will be unstoppable.
Rob Merrick reports.
I have seen the devastation in Kenya with my own eyes
21:58 , Joe Middleton
When I think of those two girls fetching water, the women and girls who are afraid of being raped, I cannot believe how drastically everything has changed, writes Abigael Kima.
Pictured: Rishi Sunak arrives at Cop27
21:10 , Joe Middleton
At Cop26, I asked world leaders to open their hearts – now they must open their eyes
20:55 , Joe Middleton
For many years, the warnings about climate inaction have been crystal clear. But many leaders worldwide have yet to take the climate crisis seriously. The response should have been faster, and at the scale and speed we know is needed, writes Elizabeth Wathuti.
Instead, frontline communities like mine are already bearing the biggest burden despite having done the least to cause the problem. Simply put, they are paying the price of climate inaction. Climate justice means facing up to this and not abandoning frontline communities to their fate.
In a speech I delivered to world leaders at Cop26 in Glasgow, I asked them to open their hearts before entering the negotiations. I appealed to them to act in solidarity with communities at the front lines of the climate crisis.
‘Our planet is sending a distress signal,’ says UN chief
20:30 , Joe Middleton
Sister of Egyptian Briton on hunger strike urges Sunak to intervene ‘before it is too late’
20:00 , Joe Middleton
The sister of British-Egyptian prisoner Alaa Abd El-Fatteh has made a plea to Rishi Sunak to make an urgent intervention.
Sanaa Seif called for the government to take action “before it is too late.”
The prime minister sent a letter to Abd El-Fattah’s family but they are concerned No 10’s engagements with the Egyptian president will be too past due.
Climate protesters on bikes stop private planes from taking off ahead of Cop27 summit
19:24 , Joe Middleton
Hundreds of environmental activists blocked private jets from leaving Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Saturday in a demonstration on the eve of the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt.
Footage showed Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion activists cycling around the planes at the transport hub, before others sat down in front of private jets to prevent them leaving.
Hundreds of other climate activists occupied the airport’s main hall and carried signs that “more trains” and “restrict aviation”.
100-year-old Panamanian community to move to mainland as sea level rises over island
18:57 , Joe Middleton
The 1,200 inhabitants of the island of Gardi Sugdub are relocating to mainland Panama in 2023 as their land is being overtaken by the rising Caribbean Sea, writes Oliver O’Connell.
Climate change is forcing the indigenous Guna people to become the first residents of Latin America to be moved because their home for 100 years faces being submerged as the world’s sea levels rise.
The Wall Street Journal reports that they will be moved to modern homes in the new community of La Barriada late next year. The move has been planned for a decade.
British PM Sunak will raise issue of hunger striker Alaa Abd el-Fattah with Egypt’s leadership
18:24 , Joe Middleton
Prime minister Rishi Sunak has said he will raise the case of Egyptian-British hunger striker Alaa Abd el-Fattah with Egypt’s leadership during the Cop27 climate summit that opened on Sunday, the same day Abd el-Fattah said he would stop drinking water.
Abd al-Fattah rose to prominence with Egypt’s 2011 uprising but has been detained for most of the period since. Sentenced most recently in December 2021 to five years on charges of spreading false news, he has been on hunger strike for 219 days against his detention and prison conditions.
In a letter dated November 5 to Abd el-Fattah’s sister Sanaa Seif, and posted by his family on social media, Mr Sunak wrote that the case remained a priority for the British government and had been raised with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi several times.
“I will continue to stress to President Sisi the importance that we attach to the swift resolution of Alaa’s case and an end to his unacceptable treatment,” Sunak wrote.
“The UK’s attendance at COP27 is another opportunity to raise your brother’s case with the Egyptian leadership.”
Cop27: From world leaders to celebrities - who is attending the climate summit?
17:58 , Joe Middleton
Voices | Greta is right – Cop27 lacks moral leadership. Like apartheid, the climate crisis cannot be tackled without it
17:00 , Thomas Kingsley
To see women, especially young women, at the forefront of climate activism is inspiring, writes Ndileka Mandela. Especially because the cause can otherwise feel overwhelming. Recently, Greta Thunberg held us all to account. There is, she insisted, insufficient “moral and political leadership on the climate crisis”. Could anyone argue she’s wrong?
At Cop27, there’s a lot of talk about climate finance. That’s well and good, but the real reason we aren’t making progress, the real reason we’re on the verge of catastrophe, is because we aren’t speaking to people in languages that resonate. Language that inspires us to make hard choices. Everything else is just information.
Read the full story below:
Climate compensation for hardest hit countries on Cop agenda for first time
16:20 , Sam Rkaina
Delegates have agreed to discuss whether rich nations should compensate poor countries most vulnerable to climate change for their suffering.
“This creates for the first time an institutionally stable space on the formal agenda of COP and the Paris Agreement to discuss the pressing issue of funding arrangements needed to deal with existing gaps, responding to loss and damage,” Cop27 president Sameh Shoukry told the summit opening on Sunday.
The item was adopted to the agenda in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Sunday, as world leaders arrived for the negotiations scheduled to run through Nov. 18.
Much of the tension at Cop27 is expected to relate to loss and damage - funds provided by wealthy nations to vulnerable lower-income countries that bear little responsibility for climate-warming emissions.
At Cop26 last year in Glasgow, high-income nations blocked a proposal for a loss and damage financing body, instead supporting a new three-year dialogue for funding discussions.
The loss and damage discussions now on the agenda at Cop27 will not involve liability or binding compensation, but they are intended to lead to a conclusive decision “no later than 2024,” Shoukry said.
“The inclusion of this agenda reflects a sense of solidarity for the victims of climate disasters,” he added.
Rishi Sunak promises family of Briton on water strike in Egypt jail he will raise case during Cop27
14:55 , Sam Rkaina
Rishi Sunak has pledged to fight for the release of a UK citizen who has started a water strike in jail in Egypt, saying it is “a priority for the British government” that he be freed.
Mr Sunak is travelling to the Egyptian city of Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday to attend Cop27, in his first major international visit as premier.
There he said he will meet the Egyptian president and raise the case of Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a British-Egyptian writer and software developer who rights groups say is unlawfully detained for his activism.
Cop27 conference centre welcomes first attendees
14:37 , Sam Rkaina
Political leaders have “special responsibility” to tackle climate change
14:00 , Sam Rkaina
Political leaders from around the globe have a “special responsibility” to urgently drive the transformation needed to tackle climate change, Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said.
He made the comments as he prepares to attend the Cop27 UN climate talks in Egypt.
The climate change conference takes place in Sharm El-Sheikh this week.
Mr Martin will attend the event as well as Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora Colm Brophy.
At the summit, the Taoiseach will participate in a number of high-level events and roundtables, including on food security and on the sustainability of vulnerable communities.
He will join Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for a working breakfast on The Global Shield Against Climate Risks, a new initiative sponsored by the G7 and the V20 group of vulnerable countries aimed at scaling up the finance needed to protect against climate risks in poor countries.
On Tuesday afternoon Mr Martin will deliver Ireland’s national statement, setting out Ireland’s climate ambition, and the Government’s commitment to supporting vulnerable countries who, despite having contributed least to climate change, are bearing the brunt of its impact.
Climate activists block private jets on bikes
13:30 , Sam Rkaina
Hundreds of climate activists were arrested in Amsterdam after blocking private jets from taking off - on bikes.
Protesters stormed the Schiphol airport on Saturday, and were seen cycling around the Tarmac as security guards tried to bring them down.
“We want fewer flights, more trains and a ban on unnecessary short-haul flights and private jets,” said Dewi Zloch of Netherlands Greenpeace.
Climate activists in Amsterdam block private jets with their bikes. You love to see it! pic.twitter.com/KUJWd7ubkA
— Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN (@JoshuaPHilll) November 5, 2022
Sister’s fears for British brother jailed in Egypt
13:15 , Sam Rkaina
The sister of detained writer Alaa Abd El-Fattah fears the Foreign Office is “setting up the Prime Minister to fail” on his Cop27 trip to Egypt because her brother may die there while on hunger strike during the conference.
Rishi Sunak told the family of the British-Egyptian activist in a letter that he will raise their plight with the Egyptian president – but would be updating the family after the climate summit is over, which they say could be too late.
Mr Abd El-Fattah has been imprisoned in Cairo since 2006 over his pro-democracy writing.
He has been on hunger strike in prison, eating only 100 daily calories for the past 200 days, and will stop drinking water as the summit begins to escalate his protest.
Mr Sunak wrote to his family on Saturday saying he was “totally committed” to resolving the case, which he described as “a priority for the British Government both as a human rights defender and as a British national”.
He described Cop27 as “another opportunity to raise your brother’s case with the Egyptian leadership” and said Middle East minister Lord Ahmad would update the family on negotiations after the summit – which finishes on November 18.
Mr Abd El-Fattah’s sister, Sanaa Seif, said she was worried her brother, who looked “very, very frail” with “sunken eyes” last time she saw him in August, would die before the end of Cop27.
She told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “It’s good that we have a commitment from the Prime Minister’s office, but what worried me is he said we would get confirmation after the conference.
“I feel like the Prime Minister needs to understand the urgency – after the conference it could be too late.
“I know it’s not the Prime Minister’s mistake, but the Foreign Office, the embassy, they have been working on this for a very long time, and I feel like they are setting up the Prime Minister to fail in this trip.”
Davey laments lack of investment in renewables
12:45 , Sam Rkaina
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey called into doubt the Government’s leadership on climate change.
Asked about the chances of success from the UN’s Cop27 climate change conference, he told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme: “I don’t think so, unfortunately. I don’t think there’s been the leadership either from our country or frankly from other countries…
“People haven’t seen the opportunity that if you invest in renewables, you invest in insulating people’s homes, you lower people’s bills – really important at the moment – and you protect the environment and you annoy President Putin because you get great energy security for our country and for the Western world.
“So there should have been in the run up to Cop a taking of the opportunity by people across the world, and I’m afraid that’s not happened.”
‘Africa has all the sun and wind it needs to be a clean energy pioneer – but it needs help'
12:30 , Sam Rkaina
As Cop27 gets underway, we speak to communities on the frontline about their fears for the future in our Voices of Africa series. Mohamed Adow shares his thoughts:
“For many Africans, climate change is not a “scientific” issue or something only of interest to environment reporters.
“And it’s not about polar bears. For us it’s an existential threat to our way of life; one which is already taking our loved ones and our livelihoods. So, it feels good to have the UN climate summit, Cop27, back on African soil this month, where the climate crisis is a true matter of life or death.
“The great tragedy of the climate crisis is that it is those least responsible that are suffering the consequences first and worst. It will come for everyone eventually, and we’re already seeing those impacts in the UK and other global north countries. But for many of us in Africa it’s now a daily reality, one which we didn’t create.
“That is why this Cop27 needs to finally put the interests of those actually suffering the most at the top of the agenda.”
Last eight years revealed as hottest on record
12:09 , Sam Rkaina
World leaders and thousands of negotiators, scientists, and activists are gathering in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt for the next two weeks to hash out the global pacts urgently needed to avoid planetary catastrophe.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned this week that the 2020s are a “crucial” decade, “when the global climate fight will be won or lost”.
‘There is no climate justice without climate finance'
11:59 , Sam Rkaina
As Cop27 gets underway, we speak to communities on the frontline about their fears for the future in our Voices of Africa series. Oladosu Adenike shares her thoughts:
“This year’s flood in Nigeria has affected millions of people: homes, farms, schools – our country has lost billions of dollars to the damages. It has affected more than two-thirds of Nigeria, which makes it a total disaster.
“Yet this is just one of the several realities of the climate crisis we are faced with. This has been our reality for a very long time.
“Currently, in my region – west Africa – the climate crisis is exacerbating armed conflict and violence between farmers and herders, due to resources control and the loss of livelihoods. It is the same in other regions of Africa.
“Climate change is driving hunger, food insecurity and poverty due to environmental instability.”
UK ‘needs to be all-in on renewables'
11:45 , Sam Rkaina
Mr Miliband said there was a need to be “all in” on renewable and zero carbon alternatives.
He told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “The message that Labour would be taking to Cop27 and that I will be taking at the end of this coming week when I go, is that it is now cheaper to save the world, than to destroy it… at home and abroad we need to be all-in on those renewable and zero carbon alternatives.”
He described the Government’s onshore wind stance as “terrible” adding: “That is driving up their (people’s) bills… so the Government is saying no to the cheapest, cleanest form of power… it makes no sense and it makes a complete joke frankly of Rishi Sunak, the man who couldn’t even decide whether he was going to go Cop27, it makes a complete joke of the idea that he’s somehow a leader on clean energy.”
Labour, he said, “do oppose” new drilling licences in the North Sea, adding: “The way to cut bills, to give us energy security, is onshore wind, offshore wind, solar and Labour has a world-leading plan to say by 2030 all of the power that powers our electricity system will be come zero-carbon sources.”
The commitment he added was “stretching and is absolutely achievable”.
'We kept 1.5C alive' - Cop27 kicks off with Alok Sharm handing over presidency to Egypt's FM
11:41 , Sam Rkaina
The opening session of the Cop27 kicked off at the Egyptian sea side resort town of Sharm el Sheikh with Cop26 president Alok Sharma handing over the presidency to finance minister Sameh Shoukry.
The opening ceremony of the session, attended by The Independent, saw Mr Sharma and the incoming president speak of the hope and continued trust in the negotiations despite criticism of insufficient action.
Mr Sharma said despite the challenges world is facing this year with Russia-Ukraine war, the Cop process has managed to achieve considerable results and keep the goal of Paris agreement alive.
“We kept the goal of 1.5C alive,” Mr Sharma said. “Now Egypt will take it forward.”
Egypt has called this year’s summit the “implementation Cop”, tackling issues that were left unresolved at last year’s summit.
Over 120 world leaders are expected to arrive in the Egyptian seaside resort. However, some big names like Xi Jinping and India’s Narendra Modi may not participate this year.
'I have seen the devastation in Kenya with my own eyes’
11:30 , Sam Rkaina
As Cop27 gets underway, we speak to communities on the frontline about their fears for the future in our Voices of Africa series. Abigael Kima shares her thoughts:
“I see two young girls, a little over 6 years old, fetching water from a dirty water pan. They are filling a 20 litre jerry can that, once full, weighs almost as much as they do.
“They push it home for more than a kilometre, walking along roads littered with rotting animal carcasses – the dead bodies of cattle that have neither pasture nor water to sustain them.
“I am a visitor in Isiolo County, Northern Kenya. But this is the daily reality for a great many communities here in Africa.
“Northern Kenya is deep in a severe and prolonged drought right now. There has been no rain for over two years. Households have been completely devastated by loss of livestock.
“One homestead I visited had a herd of 50 cattle and 30 goats before the drought. Now they have just two cows and one goat left.”
Miliband accuses Sunak of “vacuum of leadership” over climate
11:15 , Sam Rkaina
Labour’s shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said there was a “vacuum of leadership” from the Government, adding: “I don’t think it has achieved what it should have done” when asked about the UK’s Cop presidency.
He told BBC One’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme that “Rishi Sunak has sent out a message with his dithering about whether he was going to go and some of his policy agenda that Britain is out of the climate leadership business”.
Asked if a Labour government would pay reparations to developing countries for climate change, Mr Miliband added: “This is about global solidarity, yes we have some historical responsibility, but this is about global solidarity and it’s absolutely part of our aid commitment.
“We don’t think the Government was right to cut the 0.7% (of national income for foreign aid) commitment. Absolutely it’s about supporting poorer countries.”
Climate change must be taken as seriously as Covid, Cop27 chief warns
11:00 , Liam James
The climate crisis will only be taken seriously when countries realise it is an existential threat like Covid, Cop27 host’s chief negotiator warns (Saphora Smith writes).
As international delegations arrive in Egypt from across the world, ambassador Mohamed Nasr said the climate crisis would not wait for humanity to solve its other problems, pointing to deaths in Pakistan caused by climate-fuelled extreme flooding.
Mr Nasr said a key goal of the critical conference was to keep climate change at the top of the international agenda at a time when countries face a litany of challenges including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and linked soaring energy and food prices.
“Everybody is saying, yes, we’re committed … but the national circumstances are making things difficult,” he said.
“Climate change is not waiting for us to fix our other problems, and let’s not forget that when Covid was an existential threat to all of us, in one year the international community could mobilise more than, I don’t know $15 trillion, not 100 billion, in one year. So this is a reality check. When parties decide, and when countries and stakeholders know that this is an existential threat … they will take it seriously.”
‘At Cop26, I asked world leaders to open their hearts – now they must open their eyes'
10:46 , Sam Rkaina
As Cop27 gets underway, we speak to communities on the frontline about their fears for the future in our Voices of Africa series. Elizabeth Wathuti shares her thoughts:
“For many years, the warnings about climate inaction have been crystal clear. But many leaders worldwide have yet to take the climate crisis seriously. The response should have been faster, and at the scale and speed we know is needed.
“Instead, frontline communities like mine are already bearing the biggest burden despite having done the least to cause the problem. Simply put, they are paying the price of climate inaction. Climate justice means facing up to this and not abandoning frontline communities to their fate.
“In a speech I delivered to world leaders at Cop26 in Glasgow, I asked them to open their hearts before entering the negotiations. I appealed to them to act in solidarity with communities at the frontlines of the climate crisis.”
Fears UK will break climate crisis pledge for poor nations after failure to reveal funding
10:20 , Liam James
Ministers have been told to come clean on suspicions the UK will break promises to fund climate crisis help for poorer nations, after failing to set out what money is being provided (Rob Merrick writes).
As the crucial Cop27 summit opens, the government is refusing to set out its recent contributions to a crucial global fund – despite Boris Johnson pledging to boost spending to an average of £2.3bn a year.
Figures seen by The Independent show only £1.3bn was paid in 2020, the most recent statistic provided, as rich nations were condemned for failing to meet a $100bn annual target set a decade earlier.
Meanwhile, with cuts to the overall aid budget set to continue for many more years, the UK’s promise to pay up for helping to cause the climate emergency – as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution – is in growing doubt.
Pyramid light show marks start of Cop27
09:50 , Liam James
Egypt last night lit up the Khafre Pyramid, one of the three ancient pyramids of Giza, to advertise the start of the Cop27 conference.
Cop27 negotiations are a ‘formula for failure’, UK’s former climate envoy warns
09:23 , Liam James
Negotiations at the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt are a “formula for failure”, the government’s former special envoy on climate change has warned as the critical event begins (Saphora Smith writes).
The conference, which starts on Sunday, comes as the climate emergency escalates with droughts, wildfires and floods devastating communities around the world.
This Sharm el-Sheikh summit has been dubbed the “implementation Cop” as it aims to make progress on transforming pledges into action, as well as strengthening commitments to tackle the crisis.
But Sir David King, head of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group and a former lead climate negotiator for Britain, warned that the talks were unlikely to deliver results because there was no global leadership on tackling climate change.