Analysis: The eyes of the world on Egypt for COP27

Egypt will be hosting the upcoming COP27 Conference in Sharm El Sheikh from 6 November – 18 November 2022. Egypt has been consistently taking action to establish itself as a proponent of climate change action and has attained status as a Green Economy Flagship country. It has been implementing measures to combat air pollution, a major contributor to Egypt’s carbon emissions and has developed a series of objectives and policies in order to address climate change. However, it must be noted that this is the first time a COP Conference will be held in an African country and Africa only contributes 2-3% of global carbon emissions despite the fact that they are and will be disproportionately impacted by adverse climate change consequences.

One of the most recent of Egypt’s climate change action plans is the advancement of low carbon transportation. The World Bank has approved the distribution of $400million in funds to develop a railway project that would help to minimise air pollution caused by road traffic. It is predicted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 965,000 tons over the next 30 years by providing freight trains between Alexandria Sea Port and 6 October Dry Port, the first inland dry port in Egypt. This is representative of a larger issue within Egypt as roughly 19% of their carbon emissions stems from road traffic. They have also established the Industrial Pollution Abatement Project alongside other environmental protections.

The Egyptian government has developed a comprehensive plan with short term, medium term, and strategic objectives as well as policy frameworks to ensure that they are adequately addressing their contributions to climate change. This is accompanied by the National Strategy for Climate Change 2050 put forth by Egypt earlier this year. The National Strategy comprises five main points including reducing CO2 emissions, adapting to contemporary climate issues, governance framework of the state and society, improving financial infrastructure, and improving scientific research and technology management.

The disproportionate impact of climate crises on African nations, including Egypt, is a pervasive phenomenon and one that needs to be more often discussed. Egypt’s climate action plans are beneficial and should be the norm yet Egypt only contributes to a maximum of 0.6% of global emissions. Much of Africa’s economies are dependent on agricultural sectors, a component of economic development that will be deeply hindered by warming temperatures and urban African cities are expected to be unable to cope with their likely growth. Egypt is not exempt from this trend – according to the IMF, Egypt is highly vulnerable to water insecurity, rising sea levels, and more frequent droughts, a series of phenomena that will have devastating consequences on the region.

It will be interesting to see the ways in which climate change is addressed at the upcoming COP27, both by Egypt and some of the larger perpetrators of climate change. It will also be vital to listen to the voices of African and Middle Eastern countries given their minimal contributions to climate change.

This article is part of a series of more analytical articles written by contributors to METO. Views expressed in these analysis articles are not necessarily the views of METO.

Published by Britt Gronemeyer

Britt Gronemeyer is a third year student at the University of St Andrews. She is working towards a joint degree in Modern History and Middle Eastern Studies. She also writes for her school’s Law Review, focusing on International Law and Freedom of the Press.