COP27 as it happened: day one closes following Rishi Sunak speech and meeting with Emmanuel Macron

Follow our COP27 live blog for all the latest news and analysis from the NationalWorld team on the climate conference at Sharm El-Sheikh.

The first day of the COP27 conference has come to an end, with world leaders such as Rishi Sunak and Nicola Sturgeon among the world leaders attending the COP27 climate talks in Egypt today, amid pressure over who will pay for damage by global warming.

The conference takes place against a backdrop of increasingly devastating extreme weather around the world, as well as an energy and cost-of-living crisis driven by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Sunak appeared at a roundtable this morning, before meeting Emmanuel Macron and giving a statement in the afternoon. The Scottish premier spoke at a panel with government leaders and experts.

As the meeting kicked off in Sharm El-Sheikh there was yet another warning from UN experts that efforts to limit temperature rises to 1.5C and avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change was “barely within reach”. The past eight years are on track to be the hottest on record, with sea level rise accelerating, the melting of Europe’s Alpine glaciers shattering records, and devastating floods, drought and heatwaves hitting in 2022.

Follow our COP27 live blog for all the latest news and analysis from the NationalWorld team.

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Hello and welcome to NationalWorld’s COP27 live blog. Here are some of the key events today:

  • 11.30am Roundtable including words from Rishi Sunak.
  • 2pm Sunak is holding a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, in which he is expected to discuss the migrant crisis.
  • 2pm Nicola Sturgeon will be speaking at a panel event.
  • 2.40pm Sunak will be releasing a clip from COP27.
  • 2.55pm Forest and climate leaders’ summit will include the PM.
  • 4pm National statement from new Prime Minister Sunak.

COP which stands for the Conference of the Parties are a series of UN climate change conferences, my colleague Sarah McCann reports.

Following on from the Rio Earth summit in 1992, a conference for climate change was established, with the first COP meeting taking place in Berlin in 1995.

The governments included in COP have all signed up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Agreement.

The COP conference is hosted once a year in a new location, in 2021 COP26 was hosted in Glasgow.

There was no COP conference in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What will be on the conference agenda?

The conference has set out key objectives to be explored during COP2, my colleague Sarah McCann reports.

One of the main objectives will be the pledge to limit global warming to below 2C and how to keep the 1.5C target.

Other key areas include addressing extreme weather events such as flooding or forest fires, with the objective to enhance “global agenda for action on adaptation”, climate finance and support and collaboration to turn what was discussed at Glasgow COP26 into action.

Reported by the Guardian in May 2022, Rania Al Mashat, Egypt’s Minister for International Cooperation outlined the importance of climate finance.

She said: “For us, what we want this COP to be about is moving from pledges to implementation. And we want to highlight what are the practical policies and practices, the processes that can actually push the pledges, to bridge that gap.”

The Minister added: “We want this COP to be about the practicalities: what is it that we need to do to operationalise the pledges into implementation?”

Rishi Sunak calls for ‘global mission for clean growth and new jobs’ as climate summit begins

Rishi Sunak will call for a “global mission for clean growth” as he joins other world leaders at the start of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, my colleague Isabella Boneham reports.

In his opening address, the Prime Minister is expected to say that it is essential countries stick to commitments made in Glasgow if the world is to avoid the worst impact of climate change.

In his opening address on Monday, he will say it is essential countries stick to commitments made in Glasgow if the world is to avoid the worst impact of climate change by limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Sunak had originally not intended to travel to Egypt, but he was forced into what opposition parties called a “screeching U-turn” after he came under fire from his own party as well as from environmentalists questioning his commitment to the net zero agenda.

At COP27 he will argue that the transition away from fossil fuels has the potential to drive growth and deliver jobs in the new green industries of the future, while cutting off funding for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

He is expected to say: “The world came together in Glasgow with one last chance to create a plan that would limit global temperature rises to 1.5C. The question today is: can we summon the collective will to deliver on those promises?

“I believe we can. By honouring the pledges we made in Glasgow, we can turn our struggle against climate change into a global mission for new jobs and clean growth.

“And we can bequeath our children a greener planet and a more prosperous future. That’s a legacy we could be proud of.”

Sunak arrived in Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday (6 November) and said he wanted the UK to be a leader on the issue.

Downing Street said the PM will be looking to seal more than £200 million in UK funding to protect forests and invest in “green” technologies, despite facing criticism at home over the government’s decision to issue more licences for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

Sunak’s attendance at Sharm El-Sheikh will mark his first outing on the international stage since becoming Prime Minister last month.

Rishi Sunak to raise migrant crisis with Emmanuel Macron as ‘key priority’ at Egypt climate summit

Rishi Sunak is expected to raise the issue of the migrant crisis with French President Emmanuel Macron when the pair meet for the first time in Egypt this afternoon, my colleague Isabella Boneham reports.

The Prime Minister told The Sun newspaper that his “key priority” at the COP27 climate change conference was resolving the crisis of small boats crossing the Channel.

The Times reported the PM will press Macron to sign a deal to reduce crossings while at the summit. Sunak told the newspaper: “I have spent more time working on that in the last few days than anything else other than the autumn statement. We have to get a grip, do a range of things to stop it from happening, return people who shouldn’t be here in the first place.”

According to the paper, Britain and France are “close” to allowing Border Force staff on the beaches, with Sunak insisting he will continue to push for a deal with Macron.

Just Stop Oil protesters close M25

Just Stop Oil protesters have gone ahead with action to disrupt sections of England’s busiest motorway despite a major Metropolitan Police operation to foil their plans, my colleague Isabella Boneham reports.

A spokeswoman for Just Stop Oil confirmed that “action has gone ahead in multiple locations on the M25” on Monday morning.

Surrey Police said officers had shut the road between junctions six and seven for a time as the force’s “protester removal team” dealt with an activist who had climbed onto the motorway gantry.

The force tweeted that it had reports there were also protesters at several other locations along the motorway and pledged to “get this resolved as soon as possible”.

Essex Police said arrests were made after reports of people climbing up an overhead gantry close to junction 30 of the M25.

It comes after the Metropolitan Police launched a “significant” operation to identify and arrest climate change protesters suspected of planning “reckless and serious” motorway disruption as COP27 begins.

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said three people were arrested on Sunday evening (6 November) who were suspected of planning public disruption, with police expecting to make more arrests overnight.

Johnson promises support for Sunak but warns against backsliding on net zero

Boris Johnson warned Tories against going soft on climate change targets as he suggested that rising temperatures in Westminster may have contributed to his ousting.

The former Prime Minister dismissed the “nonsense” of calls to resume fracking and return to fossil fuels in response to the soaring energy prices triggered by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Johnson, who was speaking on the fringes of the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt, insisted he wanted to play a supportive role to Rishi Sunak, but said he would act as the guardian of the commitments made when he was prime minister at Cop26 in Glasgow.

Sunak made a late U-turn to attend the conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, having previously suggested he would be too busy dealing with the domestic economic problems in the UK.

Johnson said he was glad Sunak was at the summit, telling his audience at a New York Times event: “I’m a foot soldier, a spear carrier. I’m here in a purely supportive role and to remind the world what we did at Glasgow.” He said the present government “understands that and wants to take it forward”.

Johnson continued: “The PM is here. I’m glad he is here. He made an outstanding speech the other day, he is on absolutely the right lines.”

Britain’s then Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Joe Biden attend the World Leaders’ Summit “Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Deployment” session on day three of COP26 on November 02, 2021.

The former prime minister said he was at the summit to warn “the risk is some people will go weak and wobbly on net zero, we can’t have that”.

He warned the fight against climate change had become one of the “collateral victims” of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with countries questioning the goal of cutting emissions at a time of soaring energy prices.

In a swipe at Tories – including successor Liz Truss – he warned against calls to revive fracking, the process of extracting shale gas, in the UK. Truss had planned to lift the ban on fracking in England, but Rishi Sunak reinstated it.

“There are people who have drawn the conclusion that the whole project of net zero needs to be delayed, mothballed and put on ice – for instance we need to reopen coal-fired power stations and frack the hell out of the British countryside,” he told a Cop27 fringe event. The former PM said the summit in Egypt was a time to “tackle this nonsense head on”.

“Yes, of course, we do need to use hydrocarbons in the transitional period and, yes, in the UK there is more that we can do with our own domestic resources,” he said. “However, this is not the moment to abandon the campaign for net zero, this is not the moment to turn our backs on renewable technology.”

The world’s largest plastic waste pyramid has been built in Egypt desert

The world’s largest plastic waste pyramid has been built in the Egyptian desert for COP27 in Sharm el-Sheik.

The unveiling marks the beginning of a movement called the 100YR CLEANUP - an initiative led by zero-waste company Zero Co and mission-led wine The Hidden Sea. It seeks to fund large-scale rubbish clean ups for the next 100 years and drive accountability for the single-use plastic problem.

Erected in Egypt’s Western Desert, just outside Cairo, the immense structure took five days to build, weighs a whopping 18 tonnes, is taller than a three-story building and is made using the equivalent of one million plastic water bottles and rubbish collected from the Nile River.

In a strike of collective action, consumers can sponsor the removal of “bundles of trash” while businesses can be part of the game-changing initiative by contributing funds towards the initiative.

Justin Moran, founder of The Hidden Sea, which is a wine company taking plastic out of the ocean every time a bottle is bought, said: “Despite its epic size, the pyramid shows just a fraction of what is an incredible crisis. Powered by wine drinkers, The Hidden Sea has removed 18 million plastic bottles from the ocean so far; this demonstrates that consumers simply need a clear way to be part of the solution. This COP27, our message is clear. It’s time to draw a line in the sand and change how we manage the crisis. Those who have the ability, have the responsibility.” 

Founder Mike Smith camped out on top of pyramid for three days to call for support from people and businesses to join the movement. He said: “We can’t fix the plastic problem alone, but we can give everyone the ability to take action. By working together with businesses, industry leaders and inviting the public to take direct action, we’ll be able to build a scalable solution to the problem and have a huge impact.

“We want to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to experience untouched wilderness in all its powerful forces. Whilst we inherit this planet from our ancestors, we also borrow it from our children.”

Founder Mike Smith camped out on top of the pyramid for three days to call for support from people and businesses to join the movement.

Sunak and Macron discuss migrant crisis

Rishi Sunak and French president Emmanuel Macron embraced as they met at the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt.

“Very nice to see you,” Mr Sunak told Mr Macron during their first face-to-face meeting since he entered No 10. “Lots for us to talk about, right?” he added.

The pair are expected to discuss tackling small-boat crossings in the Channel as the number of arrivals on UK shores continues to grow.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President of France, Emmanuel Macron, ahead of a bilateral meeting during the Cop27 summit. Credit: PA

Sunak: ‘I will grip this challenge of illegal migration’

Rishi Sunak has vowed to “grip this challenge of illegal migration” by working with European nations as he faced pressure to sign a new deal with France to curb Channel crossings.

The Prime Minister said there was “lots” to talk about when he met Emmanuel Macron for the first time at Cop27 amid reports he was set to press for a fresh agreement with the French president.

The pair embraced at the UN climate change conference in Egypt on Monday, during their first face-to-face encounter since Mr Sunak entered Number 10.

He also discussed the subject when he met the new Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Asked what they will do about the growing number of Channel crossings, Mr Sunak told broadcasters in Sharm El-Sheikh: “It was great to meet President Macron to talk about not just tackling illegal migration but the range of other areas in which we want to cooperate closely with the French on.

“But also let’s remember, this is an issue that affects many countries. And actually I’ve been talking to other European leaders as well about our shared challenge of tackling illegal migration.

“And I think there is an opportunity for us to work closely, not just with the French but with other countries as well.

“By working together with our European partners, we can make a difference, grip this challenge of illegal migration and stop people coming illegally.”

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