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Cop27: Joe Biden to speak at climate conference – live | Cop27

Joe Biden to speak at Cop27

Good morning, and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the Cop27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where the theme of the day is decarbonisation.

US president Joe Biden is visiting the conference buoyed by better than expected results in the US midterms earlier this week, and is due to speak this afternoon. The full UN schedule can be found here, and we’ll bring you the most interesting and important developments as the day unfolds.

Thursday saw anger at the number of fossil fuel lobbyists attending the conference, protesters wearing white in solidarity with environmental defenders and political prisoners, and Achim Steiner, head of the UN development programme, warning that more than 50 developing countries are at risk of going bankrupt without help from the rich world. Catch up on the day’s events here.

I’m Oliver Holmes, and you can send me tips, comments, questions and complaints at oliver.holmes@theguardian.com or on Twitter at @olireports.

Key events

‘1.5C to stay alive’: Medical workers says world needs CPR

Nikhita Chulani

Nikhita Chulani

Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, scientists and medical students from across the world have just staged a protest to highlight how climate carnage is killing their patients.

One doctor performed CPR on an inflatable globe as other healthcare workers – from China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Uganda, Switzerland, Poland, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, America, the Netherlands and the UK – made speeches on their personal experiences and then collapsed on the floor of the conference centre in Sharm el-Sheikh.

They attributed a rise in deaths globally to the climate crisis, which is in turn causing fatal air pollution, malnutrition and a lack of access to healthcare.

They said their prescription is to climate justice, end fossil fuel subsidies and for “1.5C to stay alive”.

Gas producers using Cop27 to rebrand gas as transitional fuel, experts warn

Ruth Michaelson

Ruth Michaelson

Gas producers and their financial backers see Cop27 as an opportunity for discussions about rebranding natural gas as a transition fuel rather than a fossil fuel, experts have said.

The push is coming from the host Egypt and its gas-producing allies amid a global energy crisis compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The opportunity for this Cop is to have the discussion openly that natural gas, and in particular when combined with carbon capture, is a scalable energy solution allowing us to meet the needs of 8 billion people while still meeting our climate goals,” said Craig Golinowsky, of Carbon Infrastructure Partners, a Canadian private equity fund backing projects related to fossil fuels as well as carbon capture.

Environmental experts caution that burning gas, a fossil fuel, risks increasing heating far beyond the target restriction of 1.5C required to prevent major environmental disruption.

Gas is less polluting to the climate than coal, but its production involves harmful methane, and leaks from infrastructure can cause large-scale pollution.

Nina Lakhani

The Guardian has reported on protests at Cop27, where activists have called on Egyptian authorities to release thousands of political prisoners.

Someone who has spotlighted the regime’s repression against its own citizens is Italian national Giorgio Caracciolo, the Middle East and North Africa manager of Dignity, an anti-torture advocacy group. On Wednesday, Caracciolo was denied entry at Cairo airport despite having the correct immigration documents and Cop accreditation.

Authorities did not provide reasons for his deportation.

Caracciolo said on Twitter:

“Personally speaking I wonder why me… Is it because the organisation I represent [focuses] on the most intimate tools used by the regime, that is torture and violence?”

(1/7) It is 2.30 am at #Cairo airport and I was just informed by an Egyptian officer that I am not welcome in the country and they will not let me in.#COP27 is taking place, the Egyptian Regime opened its doors to the world, but kept some closed.#FreeAlaa

— Giorgio Caracciolo (@GioCaracciolo) November 10, 2022

Human rights Watch and other organisations condemned the decision. “Beyond the immediate impact on Caracciolo, who has now been blocked from attending Cop27 and addressing the human rights situation in Egypt, these tactics are creating an environment of fear for all activists speaking out on human rights at Cop27.”

Ruth Michaelson

Ruth Michaelson

In case anyone was thinking of protesting Egypt’s deep economic crisis today in the capital Cairo and elsewhere, the singer Sayed Emam is here with an upbeat reminder not to bother going into the streets. The song, entitled “We won’t go down,” thoughtfully accompanied by an image of a pro-government protest on YouTube, is designed to encourage Egyptians to stay in their homes.

“We Won’t Go Down”

To add to the irony, it’s set to a backing tune reminiscent of mahraganat, a form of popular music associated with the Egyptian streets and weddings and designed to make you get up and dance – or maybe even protest. Mahraganat singers are also now essentially banned from performing in Egypt, after the head of the country’s Musicians Syndicate issued a decree two years ago that bans them from performing in any festivals, clubs cafes, concerts or other public spaces.

There have been calls for citizens to protest Egypt’s deepening cost of living crisis today on social media. In response, the country’s security forces preemptively arrested over 150 people in recent weeks according to Amnesty International.

A Dutch artist is spending 11 days of Cop27 turning a 3068-page report on the horrors that await humanity into confetti, in an effort to show how we refuse to take climate science seriously.

Johannes-Harm Hovinga’s blistering performance – titled ‘There’s an elephant in the room’ – has him sitting in a chair with a hole-puncher for 10 hours a day.

3068 pages of the IPCC sixth assessment report turning it into confetti as an example of the lack of sense of necessity.
3068 pages of the IPCC sixth assessment report turning it into confetti as an example of the lack of sense of necessity. Photograph: Johannes-Harm Hovinga

“People are invited to join in silence or to talk about the climate … while punching it paper by paper by paper knowing the importance of the words on paper they are destroying,” Hovinga said.

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading authority on climate science, was its starkest warning yet of major inevitable and irreversible climate heating.

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Hovinga said the performance shows a “lack of sense of necessity” when it comes to the climate crisis.

What to expect today

Patrick Greenfield

Patrick Greenfield

Here is what to look out for on decarbonisation day:

  • Joe Biden’s speech will be at 5.15pm local time (3.15pm GMT). He moved to rejoin the Paris agreement just hours after taking office in January 2020 and has since passed a $369bn package of climate investments that could cut US greenhouse gas emissions by 40%.

  • US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a handful of US lawmakers will be holding a press conference later this afternoon.

  • Although it is decarbonisation day, at least two fossil fuel CEOs are scheduled to speak at Cop27 on Friday. It comes after analysis of delegates found that there had been an “explosion” in fossil fuel lobbyists attending the climate summit this year, with 636 in attendance, a rise of more than 25% since Cop26 in Glasgow.

  • More protests are on the Cop27 site on Friday, including those highlighting the case of the hunger striker Alaa Abd el-Fattah.

Nina Lakhani

As Cop27 waits for the arrival of Joe Biden, who is feeling mightily pleased with himself after the Democrats were not obliterated in the midterm elections as forecast, climate justice activists will not be congratulating the US president, rather criticising him for climate failures.

“President Biden must declare a climate emergency. People are sick, they are dying because profits are valued more than our lives,” said Sharon Lavigne, the 2021 Goldman prize winner from Louisiana, who led a successful grassroots campaign to stop the construction of a toxic plastics plant in America’s “cancer alley”. “We put him in office. He needs to listen to frontline leaders. President Biden please meet with me today at Cop27; listen to us.”

Protester Sharon Lavigne (centre) at Cop27
Protester Sharon Lavigne (centre) at Cop27 Photograph: Nina Lakhani/The Guardian

This morning’s first protest called on world leaders to declare a climate emergency, keep fossil fuels in the ground, and pay reparations for the irreversible loss and damage already suffered – mostly by communities and countries that are least responsible for global heating.

Millions of people are still suffering in Pakistan after unprecedented rainfall and floods left a third of the country under water earlier this year. “We are paying for the crimes of corporations and the global north, who have made Pakistan a hub for climate disasters,” said one protester, Farooq Tariq. “We don’t want any more words, we want debt suspension, we want reparations, we want climate justice.”

A protest at Cop27
A protest at Cop27 Photograph: Nina Lakhani/The Guardian

Joe Biden to speak at Cop27

Good morning, and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the Cop27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where the theme of the day is decarbonisation.

US president Joe Biden is visiting the conference buoyed by better than expected results in the US midterms earlier this week, and is due to speak this afternoon. The full UN schedule can be found here, and we’ll bring you the most interesting and important developments as the day unfolds.

Thursday saw anger at the number of fossil fuel lobbyists attending the conference, protesters wearing white in solidarity with environmental defenders and political prisoners, and Achim Steiner, head of the UN development programme, warning that more than 50 developing countries are at risk of going bankrupt without help from the rich world. Catch up on the day’s events here.

I’m Oliver Holmes, and you can send me tips, comments, questions and complaints at oliver.holmes@theguardian.com or on Twitter at @olireports.




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