UN climate talks began in Egypt with a breakthrough agreement to discuss who pays for damages caused by increasingly extreme weather events.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was responding to a UN report released on Sunday saying the past eight years were on track to be the warmest on record.
This past year has witnessed extreme weather disasters, killing thousands and displacing millions amidst calls for rich nations to compensate poor countries.
Giant flooding has devastated Pakistan, Nigeria, Chad and Senegal, as drought in the Horn of Africa and the western US has played havoc on food security.
Poorer countries are also suffering from the effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine, resulting in an energy shortage, inflation, and scarsity of staples such as cooking oil.
More than 120 world leaders are due to arrive at the summit known as COP27, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Delegates at the summit have agreed after late-night talks to put the delicate issue of whether rich countries should compensate poor countries most vulnerable to climate change on the formal agenda for the first time.
For more than a decade, wealthy countries have rejected official discussions on what is referred to as loss and damage, or funds they provide to help poor countries cope with the consequences of global warming.
COP27 President Sameh Shoukry told the plenary that opens this year’s two-week United Nations conference attended by more than 190 countries the decision created “an institutionally stable space” for discussion of “the pressing issue of funding arrangements”.
Canada is taking part in the conference with a high-profile delegation representing the federal and provincial governments.
Lying in plain sight and lapping against our shores is what scientists describe as an unsung hero that has been quietly absorbing heat and keeping the world’s temperatures under control. And over the coming days, a group of Canadian researchers hopes to persuade the world that the ocean has a crucial role to play in fighting climate change.
Prof. Anya Waite is leading a delegation from Dalhousie University’s Ocean Frontier Institute to attend the 27th annual Conference of the Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change — better known as COP27 — in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, starting Sunday. They plan to share ways the deep blue carbon sink acts as a buffer and impacts climate forecasts.
Waite said most people know that rainforests are the lungs of the planet, keeping temperatures down and filtering the air.
“But oceans hold more carbon than all the rainforests on Earth,” she said in an interview. “And deep blue carbon is carbon that’s held by the deep blue sea. So the open ocean, the high seas, which go down to 4000 meters in depth … they hold most of the carbon on Earth. And that’s something people really aren’t aware of.”
Waite said scientists must understand the role oceans have played to date in mitigating climate change, noting it’s also important for coastal communities to know how they must adapt to shifting conditions.