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Home World News Washington Post World News After quiet days, handful of protests at UN climate summit

After quiet days, handful of protests at UN climate summit

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SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt – After days of almost no demonstrations, this year saw several small protests at this year’s UN climate conference calling on the developed world to fight global warming more fairly and effectively.

Protesters called on rich countries to compensate developing countries for climate change, demanded that a pipeline project in Congo be scrapped and complained of a lack of political will to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the main driver of climate change.

US President Joe Biden arrived in Egypt on Friday to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and then address delegates from other countries.

“I stand shoulder to shoulder with my sisters and brothers from Mother Africa,” said Imam Saffet Catovic of the Islamic Society of North America. “It is time for the global north to pay for its responsibility.”

Lucky Abeng, a Nigerian activist with the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance, said the group would continue to pressure world leaders to do more and “will not be intimidated”.

Often a large presence at climate negotiations, protests have been largely muted this year. Activists blamed high travel and lodging costs in this resort town and feared the Egyptian government would act despite promising to allow protests. Activists are also increasingly doubting the usefulness of demonstrations.

The protests were inside and around the main conference center. Other meetings of the Conference of the Parties have seen violent protests in various parts of the host cities.

“We need countries like the United States to be a climate leader, to stand with the people, to stand with the planet, to stand with generations to come,” said Vanessa Nakate, a climate activist from Uganda and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. “So my message to President Biden: Will you show us the money? Are you standing next to the most vulnerable communities?”

In one protest, dozens of medical workers from different countries lay down to perform what they called a “die-in,” performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation to show the urgency of tackling the effects of climate change.

“That’s the first step in this emergency. And in the longer term, the long-term therapy is climate justice and systemic change,” said Bea Franziska Albermann, a Swiss physician and climate activist.

Other protests featured signs with messages and chants like, “Pay for loss and damage!” and “People vs. Fossil Fuels!”

“The main oil producers are here at this summit,” said Philbert Aganyo of Kenya, protesting a major pipeline in Congo. “Why are we inviting polluters to talk about a problem they’ve created?”

“We are aware that a just energy transition will not happen overnight and that is why we advocate a systematic phasing out of fossil fuels,” he said.

The pipeline, owned by Total Energies, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments, will run from Uganda’s Hoima District to Tanga Port in Tanzania. It is being criticized by international environmental groups and communities along the proposed route.

The pipeline represents “1443 kilometers (897 miles) of pollution, pain and misery,” said Philbert Aganyo of Kenya’s Green Faith.

In the first week of the two-week summit, several world leaders called on developed countries to spend much more to help developing countries cope with the effects of climate change and finance a transition to renewable energy sources. There have also been calls for drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, which continue to rise. In addition to leaders and negotiators, the summit includes scientists, academics, journalists and representatives from companies ranging from those developing low-carbon projects to traditional oil and gas companies.

Global Witness, Corporate Accountability and Corporate Europe Observatory said they counted 636 people associated with fossil fuel companies on the preliminary meeting list, an increase of more than 25% compared to the 503 fossil fuel lobbyists counted during the meeting. climate talks last year in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Tobacco lobbyists would not be welcome at health conferences, arms dealers cannot promote their trade at peace conventions,” the groups said. “Those who perpetuate the world’s fossil fuel addiction should not be allowed through the doors of a climate conference.”

Friday has been a day for climate protests worldwide since Swedish activist Greta Thunberg launched the Fridays for Future movement in 2018. On Friday, there were climate demonstrations in several countries, including South Africa, Italy and Sweden.

Like most Fridays, Greta Thunberg cycled outside her country’s parliament. Thunberg did not plan to attend this year’s conference, but said the presence of activists was important.

“If we don’t have the outside public pressure that we need, the COPS as it is now will not lead to anything great,” she said.

Associated Press writer Charlène Pelé contributed from Stockholm.

Associated Press climate and environmental awareness receives support from several private foundations. Read more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.



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