Coverage of COP27: Is it About Climate, or Something Else?

Problems Around COP27 in Egypt

The Climate Change Conference, a meeting that occurs annually amongst leaders around the world and major activists and activist groups, discusses the important crises surrounding the environment and how to address the arising concerns or pressures of global warming. This year the Conference takes place in Egypt. Currently, quite a few issues have arisen surrounding Egypt and the conference.

Alaa Abdel Fattah
Alaa Abdel Fattah

One concern is that Egypt’s internet has blocked human rights websites along with important news outlets, especially in the Arab World like Al-Jazeera. By blocking human rights websites, some activists and countries fear that Egypt may deny the linkage between human rights and climate. Additionally, these internet blockades have brought great attention to the strict censorship in Egypt as news outlets around the world report on COP27 and the experiences of attendees and journalists at the conference.

Another issue that has been given great attention is the hunger strike of Alaa Abdel Fattah, an activist whose imprisonment was directly related to his protesting and activism, and some believe he was wrongfully imprisoned. He has decided to not drink or eat, and so the issue of his release has become a pressing concern.

How this has Affected Reporting on COP27

As a result of the issues arising within Egypt, a large portion of reporting on the COP27 has focused on the problems in Egypt. In some ways the reporting of COP27 has become less about climate and more about activism and human rights in Egypt. As many articles like one by The Washington Post and another by The Guardian points out, human rights and climate change are often intrinsic to each other. However, the human rights issues brought to light during the COP27 are less related to climate and more about the Egyptian regime and its control over citizens. As human rights activist Allison McManus is quoted for in The Washington Post article, “‘this COP will be remembered as Alaa’s COP.’”

Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg

In some ways the COP27, at least in its coverage, has left behind the issue of climate. While reporting on and drawing attention to the human rights violations in Egypt are undoubtedly important, so is talking about climate. Other than a brief quote about Greta Thunberg’s decision not to go to COP27, climate is sometimes only briefly mentioned in articles on COP27. An article by The BBC highlights the cruciality of COP27, especially since its located in Africa, a continent an extremely vulnerable by potential changes in climate. Also, many issues debated at last year’s COP were left unresolved, which will need to be amended this year if leaders are to make any timely actions to curb climate change. The climate is a current pressing issue, just like conditions of citizens in Egypt; and therefore both need attention and address. However, currently the climate is sometimes forgotten or left as a footnote, when it too needs to be the center of attention.

Alaa Abdel Fattah. Coronavirus: Jailed Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah goes on hunger strike. Accessed November 9, 2022.

Great Thunberg. COVID-19: Greta Thunberg contributes 100,000 Euros to vaccine equity initiative.

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