As hundreds of world leaders descend on Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, officials are calling on rich nations to do more to stop climate change, issuing strong warnings from the first day of the summit.
During the opening of the climate summit on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told world leaders that the Earth is on “a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”
Guterres said the world is “in the fight of our lives, and we are losing,” adding that the Earth is fast approaching tipping points that “will make climate chaos irreversible.”
During a Monday speech, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore said world leaders have “a credibility problem” when it comes to addressing climate change, saying “We’re talking and we’re starting to act, but we’re not doing enough.”
Gore slammed wealthy nations where leaders say sustainability is important while they attempt to take advantage of gas resources in Africa, saying, “We have to move beyond the era of fossil fuel colonialism.”
French President Emmanuel Macron called on wealthy countries outside of Europe—like the U.S. and China—to “step up” and pay “their share” to help poorer nations of the world deal with climate change, he told reporters Monday, according to Bloomberg.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
At this year’s summit, one of the most contentious issues up for debate is the implementation of a “loss and damage” fund to help poorer countries recover from catastrophic effects of climate change, like typhoons and droughts. Developing countries argue that, despite putting out fewer greenhouse gas emissions than other countries, they are more vulnerableto the effects of climate change and should be compensated. Wealthy countries have agreed to discuss the proposition.
A study released by Oxfam on the opening day of the summit found that billionaires release a million times more greenhouse gases than the average person. The study, based on 125 of the wealthiest billionaires, found that 70% of those emissions are tied to the billionaires’ investment portfolios.
COP27 began November 6, 2022, and will last until November 18, 2022. During the 2015 meeting, countries signed the Paris Agreement and agreed to slash emissions in order to keep catastrophic effects of climate change at bay. However, the majority of nations have fallen far behindtheir promises.
By Carlie Porterfield, Forbes Staff