Photo: Kate Graham
This year’s climate summit is being held at Sharm el Sheik in Egypt, sponsored by Coca Cola. Normally a tourist resort, it is many miles away from the Egypt’s populous and unsettled great cities. Access to the summit is even tighter than usual, with a razor wire fence around the resort, and transport in via taxis fitted with CCTV. Amnesty International has already protested against the registration details, which, as well as requiring your passport details, include allowing your mobile phone to be tracked at all times.
Who is allowed in, who is allowed to go, who has to stay away and who is choosing to stay away seems to be the dominant theme of the media coverage so far. King Charles wants to go but can’t, Boris Johnson is going, Greta Thunberg and Rishi Sunak appear at the time of writing not to be going, though for different reasons, and any protestors are allowed to go, but to a special area out in the desert where there are a few white cabins and nothing else.
Its not ideal. And it may be a massive exercise in greenwashing and covering up multiple human rights abuses. But it is still a huge opportunity to get the most powerful people in the world together to talk about making our future less disastrous, more possible for our children and grandchildren. The summit will focus on the thorny issues of finance, adaptation and loss & damage; issues generally poorly addressed at COP26 but behind which there is global momentum from countries and communities made vulnerable by climate impacts. It is vitally important: a chance to address injustice, to redress the balance. It is the time to review the pledges made at COP 26 and hold Governments (like the UK) to account for their actions, or lack of them.
The climate emergency urgently needs to be back on the agenda. There will always be immediate domestic problems to deal with, but long-term problems also contain the seeds of long term solutions, if only adequate attention is given to them.
What can we do as Quakers? You can read what Friends House are campaigning on: see www.quaker.org.uk You can support the Non-Governmental organisations that will be present; Quaker bodies such as QUNO, Greenpeace, Amnesty International and other civil society bodies. You can inform yourselves: google “COP 27” and read about it. Talk about it to your friends and on social media. Ask questions! Write to your MP if you feel the Government needs to do more.
Blog posts are written by members of Ilkley Meeting and occasionally other contributors. Posts are not necessarily endorsed by the Meeting and may not always represent the opinions of our members or the wider Quaker community.