COP27: The representative of the Commission on climate action exclusively on SKAI

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COP27: The representative of the Commission on climate action exclusively on SKAI

Tim McPhee, representative of the Commission for Climate Action and Energy issues, speaks exclusively to SKAI and Korina Georgiou about the stance that the European Commission will take towards the burning issues of the climate crisis

The world’s spotlights are on Egypt and Sharm el-Sheikh from today, where the crucial UN Climate Conference COP27 began, with the danger bell ringing loudly in the ears of the representatives of the participating countries.

In fact, after all-night talks, they decided to include for the first time in the agenda of the conference the thorny issue of whether rich countries should compensate poor countries that are more vulnerable to climate change.

Tim McPhee, the representative of the Commission for Climate Action and Energy issues, speaks exclusively to SKAI and Korina Georgiou about the attitude that the European Commission will take towards the burning issues of the climate crisis, focusing on the implementation or not of the goals set last year and in the creation of systems for early forecasting of extreme weather phenomena.

The interview in detail

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned via the BBC that the world will face disaster if countries do not re-prioritize climate change. He also warned that we are at a point of no return. Is there a clear plan from the Commission and the European Union on how member states will be able to deal with the climate crisis and which will be presented at the UN Climate Conference in Egypt?

The European Green Deal is our key policy priority and it has survived even after the coronavirus pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and still guides all our policies. The European Union has one of the most ambitious climate targets in the world, to cut our emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and be zero pollution by 2050. What we will do this year in Sharm el-Sheikh, at COP27, is how we implement these plans. This year’s Presidency of the Summit has focused on implementation, it aims to see if countries have achieved the commitments and goals they have set. The goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is a challenge, but it’s one the planet is committed to working towards, and the alternatives are somewhat daunting. You have seen it in a dramatic way in Greece, but not only. We have seen what happens when the temperature rises already by 1 degree Celsius. We see forest fires, we see droughts, floods. And this is not only happening in Europe. So we have to deal with this problem. It is more costly if we do not address climate change, but it will also have significant consequences for human life and human health.

We see Europeans protesting against the dependence of our economies on fossil fuels. Given the energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine, don’t you think it’s time to switch to renewable energy? We have time; Or is the situation already irreversible? We see the planet suffering from extreme weather events. We need immediate action.

You are right and I think it is very important that citizens have realized that the energy crisis we are experiencing is caused by fossil fuels. Specifically from Russian natural gas and the higher prices for natural gas. This is what will shoot up the bills for citizens in the countries of Europe. So what the European Commission has done is we’ve increased our targets, we’ve set even higher targets for renewables this decade, we’ve set higher targets for energy efficiency this decade.

In a new report, the UN agency for disaster risk reduction warns that half of the world’s countries cannot be protected by early warning systems. Therefore, what will be the Commission’s proposals on the matter during the UN Summit in Egypt?

This is a very important issue that I think will gain the attention of politicians in Sharm el-Sheikh. There will be much discussion about how to prepare for and prevent loss and damage from climate change. What we as a Commission will do is try to act as a bridge between the developed and developing countries of the world and ensure that we have a system that, yes, can warn of impending disasters and try to prevent them as much as possible . We focus on adapting our societies and economies to climate change and minimizing risk but also being able to respond when disasters strike through, for example, humanitarian aid.

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