COP27 kicks off in Egypt with a warning to rich countries: no backsliding

REUTERS - SAYED SHEASHA

The United Nations climate conference, COP27, opened on Sunday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt with a stern warning by its executive secretary that he would not be a “custodian of backsliding” on the goal to slash greenhouse emissions 45 percent by 2030.

"We will be holding people to account, be they presidents, prime ministers, CEOs," said Simon Stiell, as the 13-day summit opened.

There are fears that not enough is being done to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above late-19th-century levels.

This past year has witnessed extreme weather disasters, killing thousands and displacing millions amidst calls for rich nations to compensate poor countries.

Giant flooding has devastated Pakistan, Nigeria, Chad and Senegal, as drought in the Horn of Africa and the western US has played havoc on food security.

Poorer countries are also suffering from the effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine, resulting in an energy shortage, inflation, and scarsity of staples such as cooking oil.

"Whilst I do understand that leaders around the world have faced competing priorities this year, we must be clear: as challenging as our current moment is, inaction is myopic and can only defer climate catastrophe," said Alok Sharma, British president of the previous COP26 as he handed over the chairmanship to Egypt.


Read more on RFI English

Read also:
Europe is warming faster than anywhere else in the world, UN warns
Clean air activists condemn 'silent pandemic' of pollution in African cities
Climate pledges still 'nowhere near' enough to limit rising temperature to 1.5C