COP27 a Defining Moment in The Fight Against Climate Change

The world’s eyes are geared toward Egypt being the host to this year’s COP, bringing together the 197 nations, named parties, that have signed on to the Framework convention with high hopes that the deliberations and discussions will accelerate global efforts to confront the climate crisis. Hosting COP in Egypt is a vast opportunity to shed the spotlight on the continent and Egypt’s increasing demands for financing from developed countries.

Where Does Egypt Fit in This Climate Crisis?

According to the world bank, Egypt is responsible only for 0.6% of the global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and ranks 28th on the global list of polluters, reflecting Egypt’s low impact on climate change and environmental degradation. Yet, climate change is posing a significant threat to Egypt on multiple fronts: food insecurity, water scarcity, and diminishing Livelihoods

  • Food Insecurity: Egypt’s Agricultural production might decrease by up to 47% by 2060 raising questions on the strategic crops’ future supply.
  • Water Scarcity: Egypt’s current water resources are estimated at 560 m3 per person per year which is slightly above the 500 m3 mark that defines the “absolute water scarcity” level. The unprecedented increase in temperatures might exacerbate the problem as available water quantities will decline.
  • Diminishing Livelihoods: According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Alexandria’s beaches as well as Nile Delta are likely to be flooded by a 0.5-meter sea level rise impacting 8 million people.

What is On the Agenda for COP27?

There will be particular attention on 3 main areas: Accelerating climate finance, strengthening climate adaptation and resilience, and encouraging emissions mitigation

Why Are Developed Countries Falling Behind the Climate Finance Set Target?

In 2009, developed countries have promised to mobilize $100 billion per year to pay for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. However, according to OECD, developed countries are falling behind the set targets, and many argue that those numbers are vastly inflated, and the actual figures are just around 30% of the OECD’s estimates once the loans are deducted.

The $100 billion promise was a collective goal from the rich countries, yet there was no formal deal on what each should pay. This has resulted in a situation where some countries are paying more than their fair shares such as Norway and others are falling short such as the USA.   

Strengthening Climate Adaptation and Resilience

One of the main reasons behind the imbalance between mitigation and adaptation is that money is increasingly provided as loans rather than grants. According to Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Dhaka, “If you’re giving poor people money to help them deal with the impacts of climate change, that doesn’t generate money.” On the other hand, mitigation projects such as installing solar panels or wind farms can generate a return on investments, positioning it as an attractive choice for developing countries.

Encouraging Emissions Mitigation – A New Wave of Conservation

The world remains off track to limit climate change to the agreed levels! A formal outcome of COP26 was the “Glasgow Climate Pact” that requested the parties to strengthen their 2030 targets in their NDCs as a result of the weak NDCs submitted by 120 parties ahead of COP26 if the new targets are fully implemented this would mean an estimated warming of 2.4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Despite this, only 24 countries have submitted new, revised, or updated NDCs, and Egypt is one of them. The majority of these countries have not conformed to the “Glasgow Climate Pact” call to strengthen their targets, including COP27 host country Egypt. Climate Action Tracker (CAT) rates Egypt’s overall efforts as “Highly Insufficient” as its updated NDC for its 2030 targets is barely an improvement and Egypt could easily achieve its new, weak target without the need to introduce any new policies.

How Could Egypt Capitalize on Hosting COP27?

Following the recent incidents of devaluation and the IMF loan, there has been a lot of pressure on the country’s debt figures. Yet, COP27 could be a golden opportunity for Egypt to attract foreign currency to alleviate this pressure.           

Positioning Egypt as an Innovation Hub

The recent challenges the world is facing from a pandemic to a climate crisis and other challenges have amplified the importance of investing in innovation. Egypt has clearly recognized this trend as an opportunity that can drive investments. COP27 can be proof that innovation is on top of the country’s agenda for development where multiple initiatives have been implemented to emphasize on this including

  • The Transformation of Sharm El Sheikh into a green city and converting transportation modes in the city to eco-friendly electrical buses.
  • The event will be powered by a 5 megawatts solar plant in which Egypt aims to demonstrate its commitment to the development of renewable energy.
  • The adoption of high-tech security measures where cars entering Sharm El Sheikh will undergo a full inspection using electronic methods.