Even before it kicked off, Sharm el-Sheikh’s climate summit seemed somewhat of a paradox. Well, whichever way you look at it, celebrate the biggest event of the year on environmental policies and sustainability in a city with a thousand pools in the desert It is contradictory to say the least.. During the celebration of this congress, the contrast between the content of the climate debates and the place that hosts them has become even crude. like when we saw that the venue that hosts this event hardly has recycling points. And as if that were not enough, the climate summit held in the desertmore than one day, on more than one occasion, has stayed without water.
The ‘veterans’ of the summits affirm that this year’s organization has been more chaotic than usual. Especially in terms of logistics. Water is perhaps the clearest example. In Sharm el-Sheikh the tap water is not drinkable. So, to stay hydrated there are basically three options: buy plastic bottles in supermarkets, collect tetrabricks of ‘alkaline water’ that the organization gives away or recharge the canteen in the (few) water fountains that can be found in the corridors. On more than one occasion, these three water sources have been depleted. In some cases, the organization has managed to solve the problem in question of others. In others, he has urged attendees to wait for the next day (with all the problems that running out of drinking water entails in a place as hot as Sharm el-Sheikh).
1:40 p.m. in Egypt. There is no water to refill bottles. There are also no drinkable products from the sponsor
These are the conditions in which we have been working for these two weeks in the super-resort Sharm El-Sheikh in super-democratic Egypt. pic.twitter.com/2RdMMY8LT1
— Tais Gadea Lara | at COP27 (@TaisGadeaLara) November 17, 2022
Something similar is happening with food. In the venue that hosts the climate summit, dining options are limited to a handful of fast food stands Y a single ‘all-you-can-eat’ restaurant to feed the more than 35,000 people who have attended this event. At noon, the queues to get food exceed half an hour of waiting. The booths have little selection of products And they are generally very expensive. And as if that were not enough, the vast majority of options offered are only suitable for carnivores (in fact, the vegans They have very few options to eat at the summit).
The climate summit in the desert also adds criticism for the power of your air conditioner. While outside the enclosure they register daytime temperatures close to 30 degrees, inside the thermometers drop sharply. The corridors of Sharm el-Sheikh are made to go with a jacket, jacket or even a winter jumper. Several attendees explain, handkerchief in hand, that with so many thermal contrasts they have caught a cold. Imagine how paradoxical it is catch a cold from artificial cold in the desert.
Even the toilets have caused controversy. This year, in the immense venue that hosts the climate summit, there are fewer toilets than expected for such a large event. For this reason, the entrance to the toilet is usually presided over by a long queue. In some outdoor areas, the toilets are in stalls (very similar to those of the festivals, by the way) and they stand on a somewhat unstable ground.
The logistical problems marked the start of the first week of the event, are repeated at the end of the second and raise doubts just at a time when negotiations are dragging on beyond the official closing date. The Sharm el-Sheikh climate summit was supposed to close this Friday but the lack of consensus on some of the key points of the negotiation is lengthening the debate. Everything indicates that the talks will extend throughout the weekend.
As the debate rages, the few food and coffee booths on the summit close the blind for good. Starting tomorrow, and until who knows when, the organization affirms that there will only be a small selection of venues open for diplomats, negotiators and journalists who want to attend until the final closing of this event. (Over) living at the close of this climate summit in the desert it looks entertaining to say the least.