Colombian President Gustavo Petro is joining other world leaders and delegations in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh for the climate talks known as COP27. Over the next two weeks, the international community must find innovative ways to reduce greenhouse emissions, given that one year after the Glasgow climate pact, the world is burning more fossil fuels than ever.
According to a research paper in The Conversation, the University of Warwick’s Mathieu Blondeel writes that Glasgow’s COP27 “contained the first ever acknowledgement of the role of fossil fuels in causing climate change. It also urged nations to phase out measures which subsidise the extraction or consumption of fossil fuels and to “phase-down” coal power.”
The latest COP27 summit in Sharm El Sheikh comes as the world’s strongest economies face recession and Europe enters an energy crisis caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. “Europe has had to rapidly adjust to Russia using its gas exports as a weapon since its invasion of Ukraine. As the Kremlin cut pipeline gas supplies, European countries rushed onto the global market for liquified natural gas (LNG) and increased imports from traditional partners such as Norway and Algeria,” claims Blondeel.
“To keep the lights on, some of these developing economies are resorting to the most polluting of all fossil fuels: coal. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects that in 2022, global coal consumption will match its all-time high of 2013.”
Upon his arrival in Egypt, Petro announced that his government will present “a decalogue of proposals aimed at overcoming the climate crisis,” and event, that for Petro, is of “utmost importance for the destiny of humanity.” Colombia’s first leftist leader was received by Colombia’s Ambassador to Egypt, Ana Milena Muñoz de Gaviria.
On Monday, the President will participate in a working breakfast hosted by the Government of France on “conservation of vital carbon and biodiversity reserves.” President Petro is accompanied by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Álvaro Leyva Durán; Environment and Sustainable Development, Susana Muhammad, and Mines and Energy, Irene Vélez.
After 100 days in office, Petro and Minister Vélez, have faced sharp criticism over statements that the leftist administration would halt all new oil and gas exploration contracts to accelerate the nation’s transition to renewables.
The statements came as Europe is scrambling to find energy alternatives from developing nations to meet supplies ahead of winter. “Simply swapping fossil fuel dependence from one exporter to another is bad for the climate and certainly does not make energy supply more secure and affordable. Rather than an energy price crisis, the world is grappling with a fossil fuel price crisis,” affirms Blondeel. “Negotiations at COP27 should be held with the full understanding that fossil fuels are not exiting the global energy mix.”