Cop27 day 2: world leaders speak their minds on the climate crisis – live

UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, opens for talks another day

Damian Carrington

There have been warnings about the dangers of global warming for decades and Assoumani Azali, President of the Comoros, remembers them. He quoted then French president Jacques Chirac: "Our house was on fire and we were looking elsewhere." Chirac said that in 2002.

Twenty years later this warning is still relevant, says Azali. Hurricane Kenneth devastated his country in 2019, he said, and the damage is still being repaired.

Mohamed Menfi, Libya's president, points to the dangers of rising sea levels. "We have the longest coastline in the Mediterranean Sea, where 95% of our population lives," he said. He also said water was getting scarcer, soil was getting saltier and erosion was getting worse. Despite the ongoing political crisis, Menfi said: “We can only be part of this world.”

Lazarus Chakwera, president of Malawi, prefers the power of rhetoric over the detail-driven speeches of many world leaders. "When nature strikes, our people lose their temper," he said. “To pass this leadership test, we must act with courage, urgency and humanity

Alexander van der Bellen, president of Austria, recalls Greta Thunberg's famous rhetoric in 2021: "Too much blah blah blah and too little concrete action," he said.

The most controversial issues at Cop27 are loss and damage, the funds that poor countries demand to rebuild after accelerating climate disasters, and what some campaigners call reparations. Ranil Wickremesinghe, president of Sri Lanka, brought this up in the context of colonialism. "The practice of colonialism extracted resources from Asia and Africa to encourage industrialization in rich countries," he said. “We became poor from this looting.”

Wickremesinghe said this industrialization caused the climate crisis to hit poor countries now. He also called out rich countries: "The G7 and G20 are stepping back to use more fossil fuels - such double standards are unacceptable." We'll find out what happens to global carbon emissions by 2022 this weekend, but the news doesn't look good.

Food, and the huge emissions caused by its production, are often marginalized at the COP but for Khurelsukh Ukhnaa, President of Mongolia, it is his top priority amid hunger and high prices around the world. "People, food and soil are closely linked and fighting climate change is critical to protecting the soil," he said. He did not mention tackling the dire air pollution in Mongolia's cities, but said the country had joined the pledge to cut methane starting at COP26, which would help limit the impact of Mongolia's coal mines.

Midterm results won't thwart US climate ambitions - Kerry

John Kerry, the US climate envoy, has vowed that the Joe Biden administration will press ahead on climate action regardless of the outcome of today's midterm elections, which are expected to be dire for Democrats.

Kerry, speaking at the U.S. pavilion at Cop27, said he hoped Congress would agree to expand funding for developing countries to help deal with climate impacts but “even if it doesn't, man, president Biden is more determined than ever to continue what we're doing. ”

"A large part of what we do can't be changed by anyone who comes along," Kerry added, noting that cities and states across America united to commit to the Paris climate agreement when Donald Trump removed the US from the pact as president. .

US officials in Egypt hope the inflation reduction bill passed in August, which contains more than $370 billion in climate spending and was called "one of the most important pieces of legislation of the last 50 years" by Kerry in his speech, will drive major cuts in emissions regardless of the medium term.

However, it is widely expected that Republicans will win at least one house of Congress in the election. The GOP has denounced what it calls Biden's "radical green agenda" and could hinder or hinder the rollout of measures aimed at increasing the spread of renewable energy. Biden arrives in Cop27 on Friday, potentially in a sad mood after the election results.

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