COP27 day 2 concludes in Egypt as UN warns of 'climate hell', Alaa Abdel-Fattah's family stage protest

COP27 day 2 concludes in Egypt as UN warns of 'climate hell', Alaa Abdel-Fattah's family stage protest
The second day of the COP27 summit in Egypt's coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh has concluded, as UN bosses warn we are on a highway to a 'climate hell'
9 min read
07 November, 2022

The UN's COP27 climate summit kicked off its second day today in Egypt's coastal city of Sharm El-Sheikh.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres told countries gathered at the start of the COP27 on Monday that they face a stark choice: work together now to cut emissions or condemn future generations to climate catastrophe.

Dozens of heads of state and governments, including French President Emmanuel Macron and the recently named UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, are expected to converge on Egypt's Red Sea resort for the summit, which began on Sunday.

The summit will focus like never before on money – a major sticking point that has soured relations between countries that got rich burning fossil fuels and the poorer ones suffering from the worst consequences of climate change.

The summit comes amid heavy criticism from activists condemning its occurrence in Egypt, due to the country's abysmal human rights record.

Ahead of the event, Egypt was also placed on a 'state of high alert' after activists urged Egyptians to take to the streets on 11 November - during the summit - to protest against deteriorating economic and human rights conditions and Sisi's political policies.

5:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

This concludes The New Arab's live coverage of COP27 for today. Follow The New Arab on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the latest news and developments on the UN climate conference and Alaa Abdel-Fattah.

5:14 PM
The New Arab Staff

Journalists, activists speak of 'online surveillance' fears at Egypt summit

Journalists and activists have reported online surveillance and censorship while covering the COP27 climate summit in Egypt. 

Reporters covering the environmental conference have complained of vital sites being blocked and having to sign up for a dubious application to enter the summit.

"It's highly likely that our communications are being monitored by intelligence, and it's likely that whatever we communicate digitally, someone will have access to it," said one journalist at the summit, speaking to The New Arab on condition of anonymity. 

Anyone seeking open access to the internet while at the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh is finding key information sources unavailable. 

Over 500 websites are blocked by the Sisi regime through a decree issued by the Supreme Council for Media Regulation, which enacts the government's censorship policies, some of the most stringent in the world. 

For more on this story, click here.

4:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

Sunak 'hoping to meet' Sisi to help secure 'dying' Alaa Abdel Fattah's release

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is "hoping to see" Egypt President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on the sidelines of the COP27 climate summit to press for the release of imprisoned British-Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah

Abdel Fattah, a British-Egyptian activist, began a water strike in jail on Sunday - the first day of the COP27 conference - demanding his immediate release.

There have been calls on the UK government by Abdel Fattah's family to use the conference to secure the activist and writer's immediate freedom, after three years in detention in Egypt.

"I am hoping to see President Sisi later today and I will of course raise this issue. It's something that not just the United Kingdom but many countries want to see resolved," Sunak told the BBC on Monday.

Abdel Fattah has been without water for over 32 hours and counting and has not eaten for nearly a week. 

Negotiating Abdel Fattah's release with the Egyptian president will be a major test of Sunak's diplomacy skills, after his appointment as PM just two weeks ago. 

3:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British PM Sunak says UK remains committed to $13.3 billion climate fund

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday that Britain remained committed to an 11.6 billion pound ($13.3 billion) climate fund as he and world leaders attended the United Nation's COP27 climate summit in Egypt.

"We remain committed to the 11.6 billion that we announced last year for international climate finance," Sunak said.

The prime minister added that the plan was to do this over five years and the "exact pace of this always is dependent on the projects being ready at the right time."


3:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UAE says it will carry on pumping oil 'responsibly'

The United Arab Emirates will be a responsible supplier of oil and gas for as long as the world needs, its President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan said on Monday at the start of two weeks of climate talks in Egypt.

He added the Gulf nation, which is one of OPEC's biggest producers but has also invested in renewable energy, was focused on reducing the carbon impact of its fossil fuel output.

"The UAE is considered a responsible supplier of energy and it will continue playing this role for as long as the world is in need of oil and gas," he said.

"Oil and gas in the UAE is among the least carbon intensive around the world and we will continue to focus on lowering carbon emissions emanating from this sector."

Next year's COP28 summit will be hosted by the UAE in Dubai's Expo City and will assess the implementation of the 2015 Paris climate agreement that seeks to limit to global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The UAE president said his country was among the first in the Gulf region to announce a plan for carbon neutrality by 2050 and last week signed a $100 billion agreement with the United States with the goal of adding 100 gigawatts of renewable energy globally by 2035. 


1:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UK pledges over $115 million to help developed countries tackle climate change

Britain's foreign minister James Cleverly on Monday will announce investments of more than 100 million pounds ($115 million) to support developing countries in their fight against the impact of climate change.

"Mr Cleverly will also argue that long-term prosperity depends on taking action on climate change and ramping up investment in renewable energy across the world," Britain's foreign ministry said.

The foreign minister is in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, at the COP27 climate conference.

"Now is the time for all countries to step up their action on climate change and deliver the tangible change needed," Cleverly said in a statement.


The foreign minister is in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, at the COP27 climate conference [Getty]
1:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Former UN Climate Chief Patricia Espinosa says COP27 must wrench leaders attention from competing crises

This year's UN climate conference must wrench global leaders' attention back to global warming as multiple crises, including a looming global recession and war in Europe, vie for attention, former UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa told Reuters.

More than 100 world leaders gathered on Monday in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, for the start of the two-week climate talks against a backdrop of war in Ukraine, economic downturn, rampant inflation and a European energy crisis.

"The attention of many leaders has been going to other issues," said Espinosa, who led the UN climate change body - called the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC - from 2016 until July this year.

"This is a very important conference in order to really get again the issue of addressing climate change very, very high up on the agenda," she told Reuters.

Of the nearly 200 countries that agreed at last year's climate summit to ratchet up the ambition on their emissions-cutting goals, only about 30, including Australia, Indonesia and South Korea, have done so.

Espinosa called that result "really unfortunate," but said that no countries so far had weakened or abandoned pledges made previously.


Espinosa highlighted her concern that world leaders' attention has diverted [Getty]
12:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Former US Vice President Al Gore slams global leaders over 'credibility problem'

Global leaders have a credibility problem when it comes to climate change, former US Vice President Al Gore told the COP27 climate conference on Monday, criticising developed nations' pursuit of gas resources in Africa.

"We have a credibility problem all of us: We're talking and we're starting to act, but we're not doing enough," Gore said during a speech at the opening ceremony of the summit.

"We must see the so-called 'dash for gas' for what it really is: a dash down a bridge to nowhere, leaving the countries of the world facing climate chaos and billions in stranded assets, especially here in Africa.

"We have to move beyond the era of fossil fuel colonialism." 


12:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Boris Johnson calls on Egypt to release jailed Egyptian-British national

Former PM Boris Johnson called on Egyptian authorities to immediately release Egyptian-British national Alaa Abdel-Fattah during his COP27 visit to Sharm El-Sheikh.

Abdel Fattah has entered his second day of a water strike following over 200 days of consuming just 100 calories a day, to protest his continued detention.

He is one of the most high profile of the thousands of political prisoners held by Egypt. 

"It's my strong belief that he should be released and granted consular access," said Johnson during his climate summit speech this morning. 

"I raised this with the Egyptian government while prime minister President Sisi and I had a long conversation about it - and he did seem open for discussion."

Activists and authors have also called for the release of Abdel Fattah "who has been unjustly imprisoned in Egypt for nearly a decade".

For more on this story click here.

Johnson said President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has 'been able to sort things out in the past'
11:23 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Sister of Egyptian-British hunger striker lands in Sharm el-Sheikh to campaign for his release

The sister of Egyptian-British hunger striker Alaa Abd el-Fattah landed in Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday to campaign for his release.

Abd el-Fattah had informed his family that he would stop drinking water on Sunday in an escalation of his protest.

"I'm here to do my best to try and shed light on my brother's case and to save him," said Sanaa Seif, Abd el-Fattah's sister, after arriving in Sharm el-Sheikh in the early hours of Monday.

"I'm really worried. I'm here to put pressure on all leaders coming, especially Prime Minister Rishi Sunak," said Seif, who had recently been leading a sit-in outside the British Foreign Office in London.

Abd el-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 220 days against his detention and prison conditions.

Some rights campaigners have criticised the decision for Egypt to host COP27, citing a long crackdown on political dissent in which rights groups say as many as 60,000 people have been held as political prisoners, since president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi took office.


11:11 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN Secretary warns of a 'stark choice' for humanity

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres told countries gathered at the start of the COP27 summit in Egypt on Monday they face a stark choice: work together now to cut emissions or condemn future generations to climate catastrophe.

The speech was intended to set an urgent tone as governments sit down for two weeks of talks on how to avert the worst impacts of climate change, even as they are distracted by Russia’s war in Ukraine, rampant consumer inflation and energy shortages.

"Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” Guterres told delegates gathered in the seaside resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. Leaders from countries from Britain to Saudi Arabia were scheduled to speak later in the day.

Guterres called for a pact between the world's richest and poorest countries to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels and speed up delivery of the funding needed to ensure poorer countries can reduce emissions and cope with the unavoidable impacts of warming that has already occurred.

“The two largest economies – the United States and China – have a particular responsibility to join efforts to make this pact a reality,” he said.

Guterres asked countries to agree to phase out the use of coal, one of the most carbon-intense fuels, by 2040 globally, with members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development hitting that mark by 2030.

“Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” he said. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”