By Joe Lo with contributions by Chloé Farand and Isabelle Gerretsen

On Climate Home News today:

Egyptian minister meets Danish XR

When 28-year old Maja Parsberg Madsen left her home in Copenhagen on Friday, she didn't take her mobile phone. She expected to be arrested for blockading a meeting of around 40 ministers from around the world.

Instead, she ended up inside Moltke’s Palace, meeting with Cop27 president and Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry.

Madsen’s planned blockade was one of two, organised by Extinction Rebellion Denmark to protest climate inaction. The other was broken up by police and after ministers entered the building, Madsen's group dispersed and she turned her attention to the meeting.

She told Climate Home: “We were really trying to be loud, make disruption, make some noise.” Then a police officer approached the protestors and said the Egyptian foreign minister had invited two of them in for a meeting.

Keen to get their points across and wary of being accused of not being constructive, they accepted the invitation. Madsen and fellow activist Birgitte Ringgaard Diget were searched and escorted into a side room of the palace where they shook hands with Shoukry and sat down for 15 minutes.

According to both, they asked him whether he supported climate justice (answer: yes), whether he believed the IPCC report (answer: yes) and whether he thinks GDP cannot continue to be the main goal of how you measure wealth and success (answer: Egypt has to develop economically).

Shoukry then went into the press conference and told the media he “had the pleasure of meeting with representatives of the civil society groups who are demonstrating outside the venue” and he was “moved by their energy, motivation and continued principled position to motivate governments”.

He said he would “assure them and all other stakeholders that Cop27 will be an inclusive Cop where all actors will be welcomed”. Asked by a Danish journalist why he had met with activists who had tried to storm the meeting, he said “they are the future” and that they had seen “eye to eye”.

Back in Egypt, protestors don’t get such praise. Recently, three TikTokers who posted a satirical video about high food prices were arrested and a government critic reportedly died in police custody with torture marks on his corpse.

More mundanely, the Egyptian tourism ministry has established a list of minimum prices hotels should charge for rooms in Sharm el-Sheikh during Cop27, raising a barrier for delegates from poor countries to attend.

Madsen and Diget both criticised Egypt’s human rights record and suspected Shoukry was trying to polish his image through their meeting. “Our first thought was that it was actually part of a greenwashing process,” said Madsen.

From the ministerial itself, there were precious few outcomes. Alok Sharma said that some countries had promised to update their NDCs and today said that they must do so by the United Nations General Assembly on 23 September.

"We need every nation to pick up the pace, we need every leader to show that their words were not hollow", Sharma said today. In the following press conference, he then dodged a question on whether he agreed with UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s reported view that gas should be classified as a green investment, as it is in the EU.

In Copenhagen, Sharma announced that a high-level expert group on investment and climate action would be set up, co-chaired by British economist Nicholas Stern and Cameroonian economist Vera Songwe. It would "develop policy options to encourage and enable the investment and finance necessary for delivery of the Paris agreement", he said.

He added that Germany’s climate diplomat Jennifer Morgan and Canada’s environment minister Steven Guillbeaut, both ex-activists, would coordinate a progress update on the delivery plan of the $100bn climate finance goal. This will be out at, or before, Cop27, a Cop26 spokesperson told Climate Home.

On South-Africa style Just Energy Transition Partnerships, Sharma hinted today that deals with Indonesia and Vietnam were in the works. He said both countries had significant economic growth, rising energy demand and potential for solar and wind energy.

Greenpeace activists have forced the Andromeda tanker carrying a 33,000-tonne shipment of Russian diesel to U-turn in the Thames. They were protesting the UK's continued importing of Russian energy. Twelve activists climbed onto the tanker’s intended berth at Navigator Terminals. (Photo: Fionn Guilfoyle /Greenpeace
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In brief...

Eco-fascist murders - A terrorist who killed ten people at a supermarket in a black neighbourhood of New York described himself as an “ethno-nationalist eco-fascist national socialist”. Mass shooters in El Paso, Texas and Christchurch, New Zealand have also been described as eco-fascists, blaming immigrants and non-white populations for environmental problems.

Net zero Nigeria - Nigeria has launched the steering committee which will develop its long-term low emissions development strategy. The strategy will take around 10 months to produce. Nigeria plans to reach net zero by 2060. 

Food nationalism - India has banned wheat exports to control rising domestic prices. The government reserves the right to allow exports to neighbouring vulnerable nations to support regional food security. Narendra Modi previously suggested India could step in to provide the world with wheat after global trade was disrupted by Putin’s war in Ukraine. Harvests are being hit by the ongoing heatwave.  

Heat records - Temperatures reached a record 49.2C in parts of the Indian capital Delhi, with pockets of scorching heat expected to continue in the coming days. This is the fifth heatwave since March. Average maximum temperatures for the month of May were the highest in 122 years.

Dash for gas - Iran is considering exporting gas to Europe amid soaring energy prices triggered by Putin’s war on Ukraine, deputy oil minister Majid Chegeni told the country’s news agency. Campaigners have raised concerns Brussels’ plan to end the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels, due Wednesday, risks deepening the bloc’s reliance on gas from countries with troubling human rights records.

Countering China - US president Joe Biden is expected to announce $150m in new spending to promote the development of renewable energy and infrastructure and maritime security in southeast Asia when he hosts leaders of 10 Asean nations on Friday.  

Reefs ailing - Bleached sea sponges have been found off the southern coast of New Zealand for the first time following extreme ocean temperatures. In some parts, as many as 95% of sponges have turned bone-white, The Guardian reports. In Australia, the Labor Party said it would continue to lobby against the Great Barrier Reef being added to Unesco’s endangered list.  

Kiwi climate plan - The New Zealand government has outlined how it intends to meet its first emissions budget to 2025 and put the country on track to net zero. Measures include subsidies for zero emission vehicles, investment in public transport and a ban on new coal boilers.

Defining adaptation - The Maldives is hosting a two-day event starting today to launch the Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on defining a Global Goal on Adaptation. The work programme was agreed at Cop26 and will last two years.

Coming up
  • Desertification Cop15 - 9-20 May
  • GCF board meeting - 16-19 May
  • WMO State of the Global Climate in 2021 report – 18 May  
  • Australia general election - 21 May 
  • IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee – 23-27 May
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