Israel-Hamas War casting shadow Over COP28 Climate Talks

Messaging to human rights in Gaza/Israel which could cause splits in the climate community

COP28 in Dubai (till Dec 12) is taking place under the shadow of conflict in the Middle East. This is the second time when COP is taking place under the shadow of war. COP 27 happened during the Ukraine war in 2022.

Ukraine used the Cop27 climate talks to make the case that Russia’s invasion is causing an environmental as well as humanitarian catastrophe, with fossil fuels a key catalyst of the country’s destruction. Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, spelled out the links between the war launched by Russia in February and the soaring cost of energy due to Russia’s status as a key gas supplier. Ukraine also estimated during COP that rebuilding its shattered towns, cities and industry will cause nearly 50m tonnes of carbon dioxide to be emitted.

COP28 proceeds with world leaders summit offering a platform for anti-Israel / US protests (exploited by China / Russia) but UAE – keen to maintain global image and reputation as diplomatic broker – massively hikes security across Dubai. All delegates advised to adopt tougher security protocols.

Several world leaders condemned Israel’s resuming attacks on Gaza, among them Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and South Africa.

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the UN’s COP28 climate talks in Dubai, French president Emmanuel Macron, said Israel risked unleashing a decade of war.

Already, the heat of the war has entered the talks. The Iranian delegations left the summit because Herzog and the Israeli delegation were present, according to Iranian state media IRNA. Iran doesn’t recognize Israel. It’s not clear if its delegation plans to return.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation, has reiterated calls for a ceasefire, describing unimaginable scenes from a visit by a WHO team to a Gaza hospital.

Though the Fierce conflict between Israel + Hamas is contained within Israel / Palestine borders.Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians are hitting heights perhaps not seen since the October Arab Israeli war in 1973. 50 years on the conflagration could yet envelop with the potential for the conflict to spread to neighbouring countries.

Messaging to human rights in Gaza/Israel which could cause splits in the climate community. This will potentially take pressure off the COP28 team and governments in general to deliver an ambitious outcome.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met Israeli President Isaac Herzog on the sidelines of the COP28 World Climate Action Summit in Dubai and underscored India’s support for an early and durable resolution of the Israel-Palestine issue through dialogue and diplomacy.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog spent his day on Friday meeting with high-profile leaders at the COP28 climate talks in Dubai. The same day, his country’s army dropped leaflets around southern Gaza, warning residents to flee — its combat operations against Hamas were resuming after a seven-day pause.

Herzog was supposed to give an address that day calling for action on the climate crisis. His slot came and went; he didn’t speak. He was instead meeting with the likes of King Charles III and leaders of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the European Union, the United Kingdom and India, as well as the United Nations Secretary General.

Some participants walked around the summit venue wearing lanyards in the colors of the Palestinian flag. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa openly accused Israel of committing war crimes in formal speeches that were supposed to be about climate to thousands of delegates, in remarks publicized well beyond Dubai.

Meanwhile, Israel’s allies, like UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, repeated the line that Israel “has the right to defend itself.” Sunak met with at least four leaders about the war —  it’s unlikely he had much time left for climate.

The writer of this article is Dr. Seema Javed, an environmentalist & a communications professional in the field of climate and energy

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