columns

From the Climate Summit to the G20 Summit, Food And Energy Are The Biggest Challenges Facing The World

.

Dr. Yasser M. Alobaid

The world is facing three crises besieging it from every side: the conflict over energy, food, Covid, and climate change – which may lead to another crisis, hunger. on him
Food prices rose by 23% in 2021, bringing an end to several years of relatively stable prices, in part due to extreme weather events damaging crops and rising energy costs. Then came Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, which sent prices to an all-time high as a result of the disruption of commodity flows from two of the world’s largest exporters of wheat and other consumer staples. The invasion disrupted Ukraine’s Black Sea ports that were in The past teemed with fields left unattended, with Russia’s ability to export stifled. These two countries contribute a quarter of the world’s exports of wheat, a fifth of its exports of barley and maize, and more than half of the exports of sunflower seed oil. other global economic and as a consequence. Inflation is increasing, the pandemic is still disrupting global supply chains, and climate change is threatening production in many agricultural regions of the world with more droughts, floods, heat and forest fires.
In addition to disrupting food production and shipments, mainly from Ukraine, the war is also affecting global food output through its effects on fertilizers, the cost of which has already risen as a result of higher energy prices. Russia and Ukraine produce large quantities of potash-based crop nutrients, and the war has caused their costs to rise sharply.
What’s more, the price of natural gas, a key ingredient in the fertilizer industry, also jumped as a result of the war. It is likely that food prices will continue to rise into the next year due to all these factors combined, because the use of less fertilizers will lead to a decrease in crop yields, while the costs of agriculture will increase.
Protectionism is also a major concern. Many countries have halted shipments of grain and cooking oil, perhaps for fear of sparking social unrest. So far, nearly twenty countries have reverted to export restrictions, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute. Together, these conditions contribute to the worsening prospects for global hunger.
Undernourishment levels – measured by the number of people unable to meet their food consumption requirements in the long term – have risen dramatically, increasing by about 118 million in 2020 after remaining unchanged for many years.
Acute hunger levels – the number of people unable to meet their food consumption needs in the short term – rose by nearly 40 million last year. Conflict was the main driver of this, with 139 million people facing problems amounting to a food crisis or worse across 24 countries in 2021. And now Russia’s war in Europe’s food basket has exacerbated the risks of hunger and famine that threaten many millions more.
In light of the international changes and conditions that the world is going through, the Climate Summit COP 27, held in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh, was held amid disputes that foreshadowed the fate of the previous edition held in the Scottish city of Glasgow.
Government delegations representing 200 countries in the world began talks to reach a legal agreement on climate commitments, amid usual disagreements between the participating countries about the limits, scope and implementation mechanisms of these commitments, according to the specialized energy platform. Some delegates are discussing extending the summit, which ended Friday, November 18, 2022, for a period of time. A day or more, due to the state of stumbling over reaching a final agreement against the background of some outstanding issues, especially the issue of financing developing countries in combating climate change and adapting to it, so the Group of 77 developing countries and the representative of China participating in the Climate Summit COP 27 proposed the establishment of a fund for losses and damages, specialized in By providing funds to countries already affected by climate disasters, according to a draft proposal seen by the specialized energy platform.
This is the first time that such a topic has been included on the official agenda of the climate summit, after years of resistance and rejection by the rich countries concerned, who fear that they will be held responsible for causing the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions historically. Egypt’s special commissioner to the COP27 climate summit, Wael Abul-Magd, says that sticking points still exist, but countries must conclude an agreement. Abu Al-Magd added: “The future of humanity – without exaggeration – is at stake, but what we can do is push and encourage all available means and mechanisms, but they depend on the approval of 190 people in the end. One of the climate summit sessions in Sharm El-Sheikh on the other hand
Some delegates of the participating countries are watching the ongoing negotiations in parallel with the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, where Chinese President Xi Jinping and his American counterpart, Joe Biden, agreed to resume cooperation on climate change, among other issues that were discussed between the leaders of the two largest environmental polluters in the world. .
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change in the Maldives, Aminat Shona, says that the strong signals coming from the G20 could be a positive impetus for the COP27 climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The Maldivian minister expressed her hope that the leaders of the G20 would be able to overcome political differences and conduct a serious dialogue on the crucial climate issues around which humanity unites. The draft agreement includes maintaining the goal of preventing a rise in global temperatures by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In order to avoid the worst climate effects that could happen to the planet, according to the estimates of most climate scientists, Egypt stressed the need to take urgent measures to maintain this goal, according to an informal draft of preliminary lines, in the hope of developing them in the near future. Egypt chaired the climate summit version this year (COP 27). ) in Sharm El Sheikh, during the period from 6 to 18 November 2022.
It is noteworthy that global temperatures have already risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius, with dangerous indicators confirming their escalation, which raises the sensitivity of climate scientists and their panic about the possibility of exceeding the level of 1.5 degrees within a few decades, which may threaten the planet with climate disasters with double destructive capabilities than the current situation. “We can’t lose the 1.5°C target at COP this year,” says Alok Sharma, president of last year’s edition of the conference held in Scotland (COP26).
On the other hand, Egypt’s paper includes slight references to the issue of burning fossil fuels, the main cause of global warming, which was the subject of huge controversy in last year’s edition. Instead, the paper focused on establishing mechanisms to ensure that poor countries receive funds to support their efforts to reduce emissions within their national plans.
Despite the launch of the summit for 9 days, the course of its effectiveness did not augur to reach a major agreement, as predicted by climate scientists who follow the last moments of climate conferences every year with high hopes and aspirations that soon turn into frustration. And the European Union Commissioner for Environmental Affairs, Virginius Sinkevicius, says: ” It all boils down to the past few days… we are still very far from the result we would like to achieve.”
The delegations of the participating countries exchange various draft agreements among themselves, but they are not ready to publish them publicly yet, which raises observers’ concerns about the desired results.
India is about to change its strategy
Last week, some countries were surprised by pressing for an agreement to phase out all fossil fuels, rather than just coal, which countries agreed to at last year’s COP26.
EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said the bloc supported India’s idea if it was formulated in a way that did not undermine previous agreements on limiting coal use.
India is among the world’s largest coal users, and its proposal would broaden the focus of global efforts to divest from fossil fuels, but the world’s major oil and gas producers are not enthusiastic about such expansion.
It is noteworthy that Saudi Arabia fears a deviation from the talks
Saudi Arabia’s commissioner at the climate summit, Khaled Abu Al-Leif, said Saudi Arabia’s commissioner at the COP 27 climate summit, Khaled Abu Al-Lif, said his country is concerned that the final climate talks will deviate to a path that could distort the fossil fuel industry. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at a rate of close to 11 million barrels per day, according to the latest update monitored by the specialized energy platform for October 2022.
As for the proposal to finance the affected developing countries, it is not clear whether the major countries will agree to establish a dedicated fund for that, or they will dodge other, lighter proposals, amid cautious signals from the United States and the European Union.
Rich countries did not fulfill previous pledges to provide $ 100 billion in financing to developing countries annually, which sparked anger in recent years and raised doubts about the seriousness of major countries. on the other side
Rich countries paid nearly $83 billion last year 2021 to achieve this goal, and promised to fulfill $100 billion in 2023 only. As for their commitment to the post-2023 years, it is still vague. One of the UN’s top climate envoys, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin (former Egyptian investment minister), was seen wearing a red chest badge reading “WTF”, which means “Where is the funding?!”.
The Prime Minister of Samoa, Naomi Naomi Matava, cries out against the disavowal of the developed countries, saying: “We cannot tolerate further erosion of trust between developed and developing countries. Let us make Cope 27 a historic point in turning the mirage into reality.”
The island of Samoa is located in the Pacific Ocean, and it is a small and remote island and is ranked with 8 other islands in the Pacific Ocean among the top 20 countries that suffer the effects of environmental disasters in the world according to gross domestic product, according to what was monitored by the specialized energy platform.Experts are betting on the outcomes of the G-20 summit to reach a formula Reasonable agreement among the delegations present at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, according to Tom Evans, a policy analyst at the E3G think tank. Evans says that many of the issues he alluded to in the Sharm el-Sheikh draft are being discussed at the G20 leaders’ summit in Bali, expecting that what the leaders decide in Indonesia could lead to a result in Sharm el-Sheikh, especially on the issue of phasing out fossil fuels.
COP26 Climate Summit President Alok Sharma
on the other side
Climate scientists fear a repeat of what happened at the Glasgow Climate Summit COP November 26, 2021, as the world’s major countries disagreed over the drafting of the final draft of the summit agreement. Coal. The first phrase refers to an absolute undertaking by the signatory countries to “get rid of coal,” without their commitment to a specific time limit, which makes them free from their domestic energy plans according to their conditions and circumstances. While the other term refers to a degree of restriction, the countries have almost A commitment to get rid of coal within a specified time frame, however long.
Most of the major industrialized countries of the world take the position of evading the mandatory formulas in any climate agreements since the signing of the Kyoto Climate Protocol in 1997 and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015. Some of them even threaten to withdraw from time to time, as did former US President Donald Trump.
One of the experts joked about the Glasgow summit controversy in Scotland, saying: “It seems that the most appropriate term for this evasion is to increase coal production! .. It seems that the path of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit will not deviate much from these comments unless the elders in Indonesia agree on serious steps.”
Analyst at the British Climate Research Center “Ember” Dave Jones says that any serious vision to reduce carbon emissions during this decade must target the conventional energy sector mainly.
“It’s more than a fleeting snapshot of leaders meeting on climate. This is a moment when governments need to get serious,” Jones added. To the archives of history, but it seems that this issue is still more complex than a mere appeal and warning of the coming climate disasters on the planet.
Sharma’s proposal to include the phrase “phasing out” coal at the end of the Glasgow conference was rejected by Beijing and New Delhi, and at the end of the conference he was forced to soften the formula and apologize to delegates of other countries while crying, in a difficult human scene that confirms that emotions alone are not enough to dissuade countries from the coal issue.
The past year 2021 was supposed to be a global starting point towards phasing out coal after its consumption decreased in 2019 and 2020.
But the winds of China, India, Europe, Russia and Ukraine came with what the ships of the climate advocates did not like, turning the government plans upside down to increase dependence on coal once again. on the other hand
Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies issued a closing statement saying that the war in Ukraine is undermining the global economy.
Most of the members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine, but there were other opinions, the statement said, stressing the need to abide by international law.
The twenty largest economies in the world affirmed in the joint statement that “the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is not permitted.”
The statement also welcomed the grain export initiative across the Black Sea.
The statement indicated the determination of the G20 countries to pursue efforts to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees .
The G20 leaders said central banks in their major economies would continue to assess the pace of monetary tightening, keeping in mind the need to limit “cross-country spillovers”.
G20 members also reaffirmed their commitment to avoid excessive exchange rate volatility, recognizing that “the prices of many currencies have moved significantly” this year. G20 central banks… are closely monitoring the impact of price pressures on inflation expectations, and will continue to appropriately assess the pace of monetary tightening in a clear, data-driven manner,” the statement said.
The statement added that central banks will also bear in mind the need to limit the fallout, in reference to the concern among emerging economies about the impact that decisions to raise US interest rates sharply could have on their markets., “The independence of central banks is necessary to achieve a rational monetary policy that leads to a decrease in the rate of inflation in the major economies

Back to top button