The World Today for November 18, 2022


Waving Bye-Bye


Shortly before Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi hosted world leaders for the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh, he delivered a scornful message to his constituents. He asked them to stop having so many kids.

El-Sissi has come to view large families as a national security issue, the Washington Post explained. Warmer temperatures are already putting pressure on his North African country’s food and water supplies. Egypt, with more than 100 million citizens, can’t afford many more mouths to feed.

Utterly dependent on the Nile River, Egypt is already suffering, noted the Financial Times. Warmer sea temperatures and rising sea levels are pushing salt water into the country’s aquifers, ruining crops. If current trends continue, Egypt’s agricultural base is expected to shrink by as much as 20 percent through 2050. Similar changes are undermining the country’s storied ancient tourist sites, too, the New York Times added.

Egyptian children are already experiencing the worst effects of climate change, wrote Al-Fanar, a publication that covers higher education in the Arab world. Rising heat, air pollution and harsher floods and storms disproportionally harm children’s health. Children also suffer more greatly when families must move due to climate change.

Coincidentally, children were given a pavilion at COP27 for the first time during its run from Nov. 6 to 18. “Every year world leaders and the UN climate summit say that they’re listening to the youth and most affected people, yet we’re still on the path of destruction,” said activist Mitzi Jonelle Tan of the Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines in an interview with Euronews. “This year’s youth pavilion will give us the chance to amplify the youth’s voice without the barriers and obstacles we often meet at these official events.”

World leaders don’t appear to be listening closely, though. At a recent meeting of the G-20 in Indonesia, the leaders of the world’s most economically advanced countries reaffirmed their commitment to limiting global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial times, despite some leaders expressing concerns about how that cap would inhibit economic growth, The Hill reported. But, as New Scientist recounted, countries haven’t cut their carbon emissions sufficiently to hit that target. The British magazine wondered if the world should adopt a 2-degree Celsius increase limit as a more realistic goal.

Meanwhile, more than 600 representatives of fossil fuel companies and industry associations attended COP27, according to Global Witness, a British environmental justice advocacy group.

The activists lamented how these folks never have trouble being heard.

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