SCharm el-Sheikh is “the ideal venue for an inclusive and sustainable” climate conference, the Egyptian hosts praised the city on the Sinai Peninsula. One can have doubts about that. Most of the 30,000 expected participants will fly to COP27. The tourist resort on the Red Sea can hardly be reached other than from the air. At the same time, the situation could help attract more participants from regions of the world that are often underrepresented at climate conferences. Around half of the summits held since 1991 have taken place in Europe.
Egypt is likely to appear in Sharm el-Sheikh in particular as an advocate for the African countries. They have contributed relatively little to climate change, but are already suffering from the consequences. Egyptian politicians therefore repeatedly emphasize that the COP27 must also deal with financial compensation for damage caused by climate change.
As the host of the summit, Egypt can influence the agenda. The motto – “Together for an ambitious and fair implementation” – points directly to the fact that Egypt, like many other countries, wants to hold the industrialized countries responsible for paying for the fight against climate change and its consequential damage. “Climate justice must be part of the negotiations for climate diplomacy to survive,” said the special envoy for the Egyptian conference presidency, Wael Aboulmagd, on Friday.
The industrialized countries, on the other hand, are reluctant to answer this question – they don’t want to be tied to a compensation mechanism for the emissions they have emitted over the past 150 years. There are cautious signals from the federal government that it is willing to talk about this topic. One German representative in particular will play an important role: Egypt has asked Jennifer Morgan, State Secretary at the Federal Foreign Office, to moderate the negotiations on the area of ”losses and damage” together with the Chilean environment minister.
However, the host has not yet been a pioneer when it comes to climate protection. The Climate Action Tracker characterizes Egyptian politics as “highly inadequate”. The portal examines whether individual countries are helping to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. According to this, Egypt is a long way from this and is heading for a significant increase in its own emissions by the end of the decade. Above all, the dependence on natural gas, which Egypt both produces and consumes significantly, means there is a risk that the country will not make a decisive commitment to end the fossil-fuel era at the COP. Observers point out positively that Egypt is now also investing in renewable energies; however, investments lagged behind those in gas production.
However, Egypt is not acting exclusively in the national interest. Germany is also trying to get gas supplies to replace the loss of Russian imports. In July, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz received Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi in Berlin. They agreed on an energy partnership that could eventually include the delivery of hydrogen from Egypt to Germany.