“The COPs are mainly used as an opportunity for leaders and people in power to get attention, using many kinds of greenwashing,” Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg said yesterday as she announced that she will not be attending COP27.
The UN’s 27th conference will run from November 6-18 in this year’s host city Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
It seems part of the reason Thunberg will not be attending is due to the COP’s location, given that there are reportedly around 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt, held under inhumane and life-threatening conditions.
Climate activists and independent environmentalists have been silenced across the country as reports of unlawful killings and forced disappearances continue to threaten those who do not outwardly support el-Sisi, Egypt’s president, and his government.
COP Civil Space have issued a petition calling upon Egyptian authorities to release these political prisoners, end the arbitrary blocking of websites within the country, and remove the restrictions imposed on media and digital spheres.
Greta Thunberg as well as Amnesty International, Climate Action Network, and almost 1,000 others have signed this petition so far.
A reminder: the people in power don’t need conferences, treaties or agreements to start taking real climate action. They can start today.
When enough people come together then change will come and we can achieve almost anything. So instead of looking for hope – start creating it.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) November 15, 2021
Although Thunberg did attend the COP26 conference last year in Glasgow, it seems her qualms with this year’s Summit extend beyond its location.
She stated last weekend, at a conference for the release of her new book, that “the COPs are not really working,” due to the fact that they “are not really meant to change the whole system.”
“In order to change things, we need everyone – we need billions of activists,” she said.
Related Articles: Sunak’s First Week: What’s Happened to the UK’s Environmental Policy? | Royal Green Suits the New Prince of Wales
“The Climate Book,” Thunberg’s new release, is hoped to help inspire such collective action through education, whilst also helping to fund multiple charities focused on environmental concerns through the donation of its royalties.
Impressively, the book includes contributions from over one hundred experts in a diverse range of fields including geophysics, oceanography, meteorology, mathematics, and history.
Today The Climate Book is finally released in many parts of the world!
I want to use my platform to share the reality of the climate crisis – to communicate a holistic picture of how the world is changing and what we need to do about it. That is why I created this book.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) October 27, 2022
Over the past week we have also received news that Rishi Sunak, the UK’s new Prime Minister, will not be attending COP27 due to “other pressing domestic commitments.”
Despite his track record of environmentalism that extends back to 1968, King Charles III is also no longer expected at the Summit in light of a “unanimous agreement” between Buckingham Palace and the government that the King maintain the political neutrality expected of a monarch.
The lack of these important voices will certainly be felt at COP27, with Thunberg in particular having delivered many powerful speeches throughout her years as an activist.
It must be hoped that the global leaders present will prove Greta wrong and use the opportunity to take decisive and impactful action, contradicting the accusation that they are attending mainly to receive the attention that accompanies such events.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Greta Thunberg outside the Swedish parliament. Featured Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.