CAIRO: “African countries have no historical responsibility for global warming,” said President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Wednesday.
Sisi met Wednesday with the African Environmental Ministers, after Egypt officially received the leadership of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) for two years, said presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef.
He added that Egypt will speak on behalf of all African ministers in Paris climate conference in December 2015.
“The coming period will witness a number of international environmental events that require good coordination on the African level to defend the continent’s interests, first of which is to reach a new agreement on climate change and a development agenda beyond 2015,” Sisi was quoted in the statement.
Youssef added that Sisi highlighted African countries’ right to development to meet their people’s needs and to compete with more developed countries.
Sisi noted that such an agreement would decrease the rates of poverty and unemployment; Egypt’s Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy said during the meeting that the poverty rate in African countries is about 30-40 percent while the unemployment rate is around 10 percent.
Egypt and coal
Egypt has suffered from a chronic lack of fuel since the 2011 uprisings, and rolling power outages are common in summertime, when there is peak energy usage.
Due to the shortages in factories, the Egyptian government has planned to use coke coal an alternative, however, such steps have triggered the anger of environmental advocators.
On Nov. 15, 2014, Fahmy said the Egyptian Environment Authority agreed to give licenses to 12 companies to operate by coke coal in accordance with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab’s decision of using the fossil fuel in industries, Youm7 reported.
The Egyptian Iron and Steel Company disclosed in April 2014 a short-term plan to import an additional 150,000 tons of coking coal, for a total of 600,000 tons, at a cost of $50 million, from an Indian company.
Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) concerning environment affairs and former Ministers of Health and Environment voiced their concerns over using the coal in the industrial operations. However, using that kind of fuel is in progress to be applied.
Egypt also recently expressed its desire to cooperate with China in the field of using the coke coal in the industries although such country suffers from very high levels of air pollution, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).