The United Nations’ latest annual climate change conference, COP27, is set to kick off Monday at the luxurious resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, where thousands of leaders will engage in wide-ranging policy discussions.
The conference comes one year after COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, where leaders from around the world, including nations with the highest emissions, signed a non-binding climate agreement resembling previous pacts. Shortly following the agreement, though, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres downplayed the agreement and paved the way for COP27.
“It’s an important step, but it’s not enough,” he said at the time. “It’s time to go into emergency mode.”
Groups, including Greenpeace International, similarly criticized the agreement, calling it a “polite request.”
Ahead of this year’s summit, which is scheduled to begin Monday and conclude on Nov. 18, high-ranking officials in the U.S. and other Western nations have reiterated the importance of solving global warming, which they characterized as the biggest threat facing humanity.
“Among all of the centrifugal forces of these last 20 years, all vying to pull the world apart in many ways, the climate crisis still looms largest as the issue that will change life unalterably. Now, that may sound grandiose, but it is no exaggeration,” Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, who will lead the American delegation at the event, said in October.
“Existential means existential. It demands that we all work together, because no country can resolve this crisis by itself,” he continued. “So it’s especially appropriate to be here, just 12 days before the gavel is going to come down at the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh – and with it, a major accountability moment on this urgent issue.”
Kerry added that nations must “repair the planet at the pace that science demands” and increase the ability to adapt to cataclysmic global warming.
Among the conference’s main objectives will be to forward solutions that cut carbon emissions and limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The world has already warmed about one degree above pre-industrial levels, according to the U.N.
“I have no expectations for COP27 whatsoever because there’s been 27 of these meetings and they haven’t solved climate change in any one of them,” Anthony Watts, a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute, told Fox News Digital in an interview. “This is literally nothing more than a trade show.”
“Even with the Paris accords in 2015 – they supposedly came up with a breakthrough,” Watts added. “Well, that breakthrough will amount to just a few hundredths of a degree of temperature drop by 2100 if everyone complies with the promises they’ve made and the thing is entirely voluntary. It’s entirely just show and trade craft. There’s no real things being accomplished here.”
Steve Milloy, a senior legal fellow at the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, noted that the U.N. has itself projected carbon emissions will increase by at least 10% by 2030, suggesting previous pledges have been relatively ineffective.
“Even if you do believe that emissions are going to destroy the world, nobody’s really doing anything about it,” he told Fox News Digital in an interview. “So, the whole thing is just pointless.”
Another priority of the conference will be to hash out additional climate finance agreements enabling developing nations to pay for complex renewable energy technologies and clean energy development. Western nations have fallen far short of a 2009 U.N. pledge to give $100 billion a year to poor countries for climate mitigation through 2025.
Although the Trump administration backed out of climate finance agreements, President Biden has pledged more than $11 billion per year to the developing world for climate mitigation.
A group of African and Arab countries have banded together to form the so-called COP27 Coalition ahead of the conference to issue a series of demands for wealthy nations. Among the demands, the coalition said the West should “provide finance, technology and capacity to developing countries.”
“We’re telling developing nations that we don’t want them to go through the process of developing, we don’t want them to have coal or natural gas or even nuclear,” Daniel Turner, the executive director of Power The Future, told Fox News Digital in an interview. “We want them to use wind and solar, which is intermittent, which is ineffective, which is incredibly cost prohibitive.”
“Along with climate financing is a lot of energy poverty and we’re very comfortable plunging certain sectors of the world, even certain sectors of the American population, into energy poverty,” he said.
Overall, the two-week summit is expected to welcome about 40,000 participants – including 24,000 diplomats and 13,000 observers – matching last year’s total, according to the U.N.
In addition to Kerry, President Biden and several top administration officials are expected to travel to Egypt for the conference. And U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reversed his decision not to attend COP27, saying climate action was essential to long-term prosperity and energy security.
However, China and India, two of the world’s largest emitters, are expected to send a slimmed-down delegation compared to past conferences, calling into doubt whether any agreement reached could have a significant impact. China accounts for about 27% of total global emissions – nearly tripling the total in the U.S., the world’s second-largest emitter, according to Rhodium Group – and continues to approve and construct a large amount of coal power plants.
“That should be the first priority, or the maybe the first agenda item at the conference. If climate is a global issue and two of the world’s largest emitters are not participating, then all the rest of our reductions, or our pledges, are absolutely meaningless,” Turner said.
“China is bringing more coal online. They’re bringing more coal online than we currently have in the United States,” he continued. “Why would America make any efforts to cut something like coal, when it’s being completely offset, or exacerbated, by what China’s doing?”
In recent months, European consumers and businesses have been hit with massive energy bills due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which upended global oil and gas markets due to Russian producers’ dominance, and an aggressive transition to green energy sources like wind and solar pushed by several major European nations.
Amid the crisis, Europeans have been forced to take drastic measures to conserve energy and keep bills low while governments have imposed rationing rules and introduced relief programs.
In the U.S., energy prices have surged due to a similar crisis. Home heating costs alone are expected to rise another 17.8% this winter compared to last year.
“The green agenda is a kind of cult-like, quasi-religious movement,” Benny Peiser, the director of the London-based Global Warming Policy Foundation, told Fox News Digital. “They will go as long as governments push that agenda and there’s no indication in Europe or in the U.S. currently, that this is going to go away.”
“There is, of course, a growing realization that the energy policies in Europe over the last 20 to 30 years have been an utter disaster,” he added. “But are our governments, our ministers, going to acknowledge that and say, ‘Sorry, we’ve got it wrong’? No.”