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COP27 highlights U.N. chief calls for global climate pact, warning of ‘highway to climate hell’

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres issued a dire warning about climate change at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on Nov. 7. (Video: Reuters, Photo: Bloomberg News/Reuters)

U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called for the creation of a “climate solidarity pact” between wealthier and developing countries to meet key climate goals in opening remarks at this year’s U.N. climate change conference in Egypt, known as COP27. As global temperatures continue to rise, Guterres said the planet is “on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”

He issued the dire warning as world leaders gathered Monday in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh at the front end of two weeks of talks. Leaders from several countries responsible for a significant chunk of global emissions are skipping the climate conference. China, the world’s biggest emitter, isn’t sending its top officials. The heads of other emissions-heavy countries such as Japan, India, Australia and Canada are also not attending.

Here’s what to know

  • President Biden is expected to attend the conference on Friday, giving a boost to a gathering at risk of delivering little concrete action.
  • Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley called attention to countries that want to address climate change but lack resources to do so, saying in Monday remarks: “The Global South remains at the mercy of the Global North on these issues."
  • Macky Sall, Senegal’s president and the chair of the African Union, made a plea for action and said, "We have come, as Africans, to Sharm el-Sheikh, in order to save our planet...We are determined to make history, rather than simply be victims, passive onlookers of history.”
  • What exactly is COP27? Here’s what you need to know.
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Here's what to know:

President Biden is expected to attend the conference on Friday, giving a boost to a gathering at risk of delivering little concrete action.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley called attention to countries that want to address climate change but lack resources to do so, saying in Monday remarks: “The Global South remains at the mercy of the Global North on these issues."
Macky Sall, Senegal’s president and the chair of the African Union, made a plea for action and said, "We have come, as Africans, to Sharm el-Sheikh, in order to save our planet...We are determined to make history, rather than simply be victims, passive onlookers of history.”
What exactly is COP27? Here’s what you need to know.

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