With minimal commitments: Egypt’s COP27 makes no advance to COP26

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Reuters reported a dispute over the final deal of COP27. A fund for loss and damage burdening developing nations with highly-cost climate change impact was a primary point of conflict as EU countries contended large polluters, including China, must pay, refusing the principle of historical responsibility. EU countries also demanded all countries have to contribute effectively to emission cuts. “We’d rather have no decision than a bad decision,” EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said.

Egypt called for excluding natural gas from fossil fuels recommended to be totally disposed of by 2050, considering it is a low-emission fuel that can use in the transition towards 100% clean, renewable energy, and Mada Masr reported Egypt ignored Indian suggestion to phase down all fossil fuels including natural gas. The Indian advice received support from the governments of the USA, UK and EU countries, environmental activists and international organizations. COP26 had witnessed a dispute over ending coal use and fossil fuel subsidies, as China pressured to reduce instead of completing coal use, what was agreed upon in the COP26 final deal. According to David Waskow, climate director of the World Resources Institute, the last value makes no advance to the COP26 final sale that just called for phasing down coal use. Talks were further complicated after US special climate envoy John Kerry tested positive for Covid19 after negotiations between the EU, China and Brazil. Egypt’s COP27 President Sameh Shoukry urged delegates to “rise to the occasion” and unite around a final deal.

According to Urgewald, for researching coal companies, 200 companies are working on extracting fossil fuel from Africa in what the company considered new colonialism of the continent since Africa had provided an area for mining fossil fuel equal to the region of both France and Italy collectively associated with new energy, natural gas and liquid gas stations and fuel transferring pipes. Egypt is Africa’s highest consumer of natural gas, with 65 billion m3 and the second producer after Algeria, with USD 8 billion in gas exports over the previous year and daily production of up to 1.6 billion cubic feet. Damietta liquid gas station returned to work after eight years of cessation. Egypt escalated its gas exports after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sanctions on Russia benefitting from high international prices and Zohr field discoveries to fill the financial gap the country suffers from. To save gas for exporting, Egypt returned to using the highly-polluting diesel for electricity production and reduced gas usage from 95% in 2020 to 78%.

During COP27, Egypt’s petroleum minister Tarek al-Mola met Total Energies CEO Patrick Pouyanne to discuss increasing oil and gas production in Egypt. After the meeting, Pouyanne declared studies of a field in north Marina were concluded, and another area is to be launched soon in Bashrosh in Nile Delta. Global Witness reported that oil and gas lobbies participation increased in COP27 by 25% compared to COP26 and recorded 600 persons connected to the gas and oil lobby working in COP27 to influence discussions and decisions related to phasing out fossil fuel.