Sharm El Sheikh behind the scenes

“Will there be slides?” My seven-year-old daughter asked me about the Green Zone at COP27. She wasn’t too enthused by the Conference Centre or the people milling around in front of it. Luckily the desert sun was dry, which relieves you of discomfort, joint pain or circulatory issues.  An important detail on the negotiation table. Optimum health and wellbeing and pleasant working conditions can only be positive for anyone attending the event.

After getting a free electric bus to the sprawling conference centre, we met was  Irishman Conor Mairtin from Newry- he was adamant I used the Irish version of his name.

He said we need ‘draconian’ measures in place to fight the climate disaster. “I just had to come,” he said carrying a banner with “Climate Change Denial deserves the death penalty.” I asked him about how Egyptians are treating activities- in my mind jailed British-Egyptian pro democracy activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who is currently on hunger strike. Mairtin said activists were treated fine, but he was the only one protesting at that point. Like any movement climate ‘activism’ attracts a broad spectrum of people, some of whom are just happy to find something to cling onto with great enthusiasm and conviction. Generally I’m not a fan of civil disobedience or this kind of ‘activism’. Climate activism is often tarnished by fanatics, which gives those on the other side of the pendulum endless fodder. It’s a shame as it distracts from issues which affect us all like addressing livestock farming or reducing waste-  how is so much carbon still just being wasted? Food waste alone is a worse emitter than flying.

Planes 

In fact, the constant planes flying into Sharm el Sheikh can also be used against the climate movement and accuse it of hypocrisy, but getting to the tip of the Sinai Peninsula overland is potentially dangerous and time consuming. Also petrol and diesel cars would be required, as there are no trains.

My daughter was the only child outside the conference centre,- for obvious reasons, but also because were there during school term and she should have been in school after school holidays ended. I thought a photo of her- essentially school striking seeing as she is inheriting the planet from us.

Of the 30,000 delegates, we met people from Sudan, Barbados, Zambia, Brazil, all with the intention of ‘saving the world.’ They were positive, which is positive.

Security

Security was tight- I lost a bottle of duty free flying in, during one of the many security checks.  I paid heavily for this error when I left our five star hotel for a compound, with no bar. Five star hotels, usually cheap and filled with Russian tourists were ten times more expensive during COP27, as are taxis. But these can be avoided by using the free bus.

Unlike the ‘family’ today of world leaders, most of whom were men. Interestingly, all staff at hotels and all tours we did- we went diving, snorkelling, camel riding and stargazing, were manned by men.
Though in our compound, a lovely lady called Doha looked after us- we even got to stay in the room till past 6pm on our day of leaving, even though surely the room was in demand.

Back in Ireland, COP27 is fading in the news a little, it seems people get jaded with alarmism and the World Cup is taking over. Like anything else, people’s attention spans are short- even for our apocalyptic planetary demise. Anyone for football?

Sharm El Sheikh behind the scenes