COP27: Greenpeace and climate activists slam Arab regional efforts at Sharm el-Sheikh

COP27: Greenpeace and climate activists slam Arab regional efforts at Sharm el-Sheikh
At Egypt's COP27, efforts by Arab countries to tackle climate change have been strongly criticised by Greenpeace and regional activists who believe MENA states are sabotaging emission reduction targets.
2 min read
18 November, 2022
'Losses and Damages' refers to compensation for the impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided [source: Getty]

Greenpeace on Friday accused Arab nations of compromising efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the COP27 talks, as regional climate activists urged leaders to reduce their countries' fossil-fuel dependence.

The 21-country Arab group at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt "has spent most of its energy spearheading efforts to jeopardise any progress" on reducing emissions, Greenpeace said in a statement.

The Arab group also "strongly opposed the affirmation of 1.5C as the temperature limit... and displayed fierce opposition for fossil fuel related language in the cover decision," Greenpeace added, referring to an overarching COP27 document.

Talks at the conference in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh have been extended to Saturday, with wealthy and developing nations struggling to agree on final deals.

Developed countries want nations to reaffirm their commitment to meeting the aspirational goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius - a tough target as CO2 emissions are expected to hit an all-time high this year.

"We the Arab youth are dissatisfied with the Arab group's role in the negotiations," Moroccan activist Fatima-Zahrae Tarib said in the statement.

"It is ironic that the country chairing the Arab group... touts its economy as an excuse to continue production," she added, referring to oil producer Saudi Arabia.

"We are a region rich in natural resources, such as wind and sunshine, let us take advantage of that fact" to produce renewable energy, she said.

Greenpeace's Ahmed El Droubi noted that "the summit was dubbed the Africa COP" but said that "the Arab group's current fossil fuel safeguarding strategy does not reflect the vulnerability of the region and will just add to the problem".

"While the Arab group did express its support for developing countries' key climate justice demand for a loss and damage fund, the group should have been leading the charge," he added.

The Middle East is at high risk of water and food scarcity as well as severe heat waves as a result of climate change, a Greenpeace study released earlier this month said.

It found the region is warming nearly twice as fast as the global average, making its food and water supplies "extremely vulnerable" to climate change.