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The most polluting countries dodge COP27

Neither China, India nor Russia will send high-ranking officials to the UN Climate Change Conference. Biden to arrive late for midterms
REUTERS/THAIER AL-SUDANI - Centro Internacional de Convenciones de Sharm el Sheikh durante la inauguración de la cumbre del clima COP27

REUTERS/THAIER AL-SUDANI  -   Sharm el Sheikh International Convention Center during the opening of the COP27 climate summit

Egipto está organizando la Conferencia de Cambio Climático de la ONU con mayor carga geopolítica en una década . El encuentro internacional se ve gravemente afectado por el clima hostil generado por la guerra de Ucrania y la crisis energética que ha provocado.

En este contexto, tres de los países más contaminantes del mundo rehúyen la cumbre y no envían grandes delegaciones, según la organización. Los enviados de India, Rusia y China no incluirán ningún jefe de gobierno o estado, a diferencia de la mayoría de sus contrapartes. El presidente estadounidense, Joe Biden, llegará tarde debido a las elecciones de medio término en Estados Unidos y estará ausente de las reuniones de jefes de gobierno. 

AFP/MARK MAKELA - El presidente Joe Biden habla durante un mitin con el candidato demócrata a senador estadounidense John Fetterman y el candidato demócrata a gobernador Josh Shapiro
AFP/MARK MAKELA - President Joe Biden speaks at a rally with Democratic U.S. Senatorial candidate John Fetterman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro

The international isolation in which Russia has been immersed since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has led Putin's government to avoid this meeting, in which the countries' delegations share space and would meet face to face. Energy is one of the key factors converging with the war in Ukraine. On the agenda for international delegations is how to address the energy crisis caused by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. According to the Russian government, the sending delegation will call for an end to sanctions on imports of carbon-cutting technology. Russia's biggest partners, China and India, which allow Kiev to continue to export its energy exports, are also unwilling to meet with the Western bloc to discuss these issues. In China, coal use has increased by 2022, making the Asian giant the producer and consumer of 50% of all the world's coal. 

Another 100 world leaders did come to Sharm el Sheikh to "end the suffering of those who are most vulnerable to this climate change", in the words of Egyptian President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi at the start of today's session. Among them are most of Europe's heads of government and state, along with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The EU-27 has high stakes at this summit. Europe's energy crisis is the challenge that is likely to cause the greatest strain on the economies of the member states. 

AFP/ SAM PANTHAKY - El primer ministro indio Narendra Modi
AFP/ SAM PANTHAKY - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the EU has increased its coal consumption by 7% more than expected, according to data from the International Energy Agency, despite the EU's commitments to make an effective transition to clean energy. For the EU, the main objective of this summit will be to find new partners for energy supply that will allow it to do without Russia in the near future. The Vice-President of the European Commission and responsible for the Green Pact, Frans Timmermans, who said at COP26 in Glasgow that the age of coal was coming to an end, will be in charge of taking the programme agreed by the 27 Ministers of Energy in Prague to the summit. 

The UK is also sending its newly appointed Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, after the opposition criticised the Tory for not wanting to attend the summit. Under pressure, Sunak travels to Sharm el Sheikh after pledging to work for the release of imprisoned Egyptian activist Alaa Abd el-Fattah, who is on a hunger strike at the start of COP27. 

REUTERS/STEFAN ROUSSEAU - El primer ministro Rishi Sunak llega para reunirse con Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan de los Emiratos Árabes Unidos durante la cumbre Cop27 en Sharm el-Sheikh, Egipto
REUTERS/STEFAN ROUSSEAU - Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives to meet with Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates during the Cop27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

From the Gulf countries, the presence of the President of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, who landed in Egypt accompanied by an important ministerial delegation and experts, stands out. The UAE intends to bring to the Summit its advances in the production of clean energies such as hydrogen, an alternative in which Emirati innovation is advancing by leaps and bounds. The Gulf state has signed a $100 billion clean energy investment pact with the United States with a view to 2030. The goal is to achieve a production capacity of 1 gigawatt. 

Speaking at the start of Monday's session, Mohamed bin Zayed said that "We need peace, dialogue and an end to war" for the planet's progress in the Climate Change dossier. "The UAE is a major supplier of different energies, and we will continue to play that role in the future". The Sheikh said, however, that despite the country's large hydrocarbon reserves, the UAE government is willing to progressively reduce its production, not only to diversify its economy, but also to promote development from a sustainable point of view. "We are the first country in the region to announce a sustainable energy strategy for 2050," said Mohamed bin Zayed. 

Este lunes y mañana, los líderes mundiales reunidos en Sharm el Sheikh llevarán a cabo las sesiones de diálogo más activas . Durante los próximos días, se llevarán a cabo una serie de importantes paneles y conferencias en el complejo habilitado por el gobierno egipcio y las Naciones Unidas.