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COP27 : Antonio Guterres urges nations to focus on climate change

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrives to deliver a speech at the leaders summit of the COP27 climate conference at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.   -  
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Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, opens the COP27 with a poignant speech in which he urges nations to focus on global warming and its hazardous impacts further brought to light by the war in Ukraine.

This 27th session of the UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt with poignancy, stated that the world is on a highway to climate hell with its foot on the gas pedal.

Guterres also called upon world leaders to focus on the growing urgency of climate change and its hazards further accelerated by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“We cannot accept that our attention is not focused on climate change. We must of course work together to support peace efforts and end the tremendous suffering. But climate change is on a different timeline and different scale. 

"It is a defining issue of our age. It is the central challenge of our century. It is unacceptable, outrageous and self-defeating to put it on the back burner. Indeed many of today's conflicts are linked to growing climate chaos....and the war in Ukraine has exposed the profound risk of our fossil fuel addiction,” he stated firmly during the opening speech.

Though China is the world’s biggest current emitter of greenhouse gases, President Xi JinPing has made it clear that he will not be attending this session of the COP. President Joe Biden will be attending after the midterms. The U.S., which is the second biggest current emitter, plans to challenge

China’s claim to global leadership on climate action with an array of new carbon reduction initiatives. China has a head start on the U.S. in its mass rollout of solar power and electric vehicles.

The participation of these two countries is crucial as the US and China together are responsible for 40% of the world's gas emissions.

The COP is also the occasion for climate activists to be heard, many of them peacefully protesting for animal rights.

Others have embraced more drastic methods, like throwing tomato sauce on inestimable art pieces in an effort to call attention to their cause.

The Paris agreement ratified by 55 countries including the US and China, aimed to limit global temperature increases to two degrees Celsius. 

Nearly 7 years later, the goal has not been met and emerging countries such as Egypt, which pollute less but suffer the most from climate hazards, are seeing their historical treasures menaced by the rising of sea levels and their populations impoverished. 

The COP27 is the occasion for northern countries and southern ones to discuss better solutions for putting an end to climate-related hazards.

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