Cop27: Alaa Abd el-Fattah breaks hunger strike; news groups around the world join call for climate justice – live

British-Egyptian Alaa Abd el-Fattah is alive, breaks hunger strike, sister says

The sister of the jailed hunger striker Alaa Abd el-Fattah has confirmed her brother is alive and has broken his hunger strike.

Sanaa Seif, who spoke at Cop27 last week, tweeted that she had received a letter from her brother.

We just got this letter. Alaa has broken his hunger strike. I don’t know what’s happening inside, but our family visit is scheduled for Thursday and he’s saying to bring a cake to celebrate his birthday. #FreeAlaa

— Sanaa (@sana2) November 15, 2022

Seif posted a letter, purportedly written by Alaa, saying he would “explain everything” when his family visit is scheduled on Thursday.

Key events

Here is the full letter, which appears to be in Alaa’s handwriting, according to the campaign to get him released:

4pm, Monday November 14th 2022

How are you, Mama? Don’t worry, I’m OK. Your short letter got through, and I feel better now knowing you’re OK. The mp3 [music player] got through too. I’ll see you on the visit day and tell you everything then and we’ll get back to long letters after the visit. The important thing is I want to celebrate my birthday with you on Thursday, I haven’t celebrated for a long time, and want to celebrate with my cellmates, so bring a cake, normal provisions, I’ve broken my strike. I’ll explain everything on Thursday.

Lots of love,

I miss you and long for your company,


British-Egyptian Alaa Abd el-Fattah is alive, breaks hunger strike, sister says

The sister of the jailed hunger striker Alaa Abd el-Fattah has confirmed her brother is alive and has broken his hunger strike.

Sanaa Seif, who spoke at Cop27 last week, tweeted that she had received a letter from her brother.

We just got this letter. Alaa has broken his hunger strike. I don’t know what’s happening inside, but our family visit is scheduled for Thursday and he’s saying to bring a cake to celebrate his birthday. #FreeAlaa

— Sanaa (@sana2) November 15, 2022

Seif posted a letter, purportedly written by Alaa, saying he would “explain everything” when his family visit is scheduled on Thursday.

Hannah Ellis-Petersen

Three days before India’s environment minister boarded a flight to Egypt for this year’s UN climate summit, Cop27, the country’s finance minister was busy with a new announcement.

“India needs greater investment in coal production,” said Nirmala Sitharaman at the Delhi launch of India’s biggest ever coalmine auction, where 141 new sites for coalmines will be sold off to the highest bidder.

At a time when the world’s future hinges on a dramatic global reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and global leaders are gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh to try to limit the impact of the climate crisis – with decarbonisation on the agenda – the Indian government is continuing on its biggest ever push for domestic coal production, even toying with the idea of producing so much it could become a future coal exporter.

This was the sixth, and largest, such auction the Indian government has held since 2020, when it privatised the coal industry. Two-thirds of the 968 sites that are allocated for mines, known as coal blocks, are on untouched land and many sit under India’s most ecologically rich and fragile forests, and rural areas populated by tribal communities that will be destroyed if the new projects go ahead.

“The worst part is that in order to open up more coal, the government is allowing mining in dense forested areas. Forests are sinks of carbon dioxide so if you are getting new coal to burn by chopping down forests, it’s a double whammy of environmental disaster,” said Sudiep Shrivastava, a lawyer who has fought back against new coal blocks.

Thirty organisations from the global food community are urgently calling for additions to an agreement on agriculture’s role in tackling the climate crisis.

The groups, which include the WWF and Environmental Defense Fund, said in a joint letter that the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) should include “food systems approaches”.

Sustainable food systems deliver food security and nutrition for all, without compromising the welfare of future generations through harmful economic, social and environmental practices. In the context of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, this means taking a particular focus on sustainable food production, nutrition and dietary shifts, as well as food loss and waste.

The KJWA is a landmark decision under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It addresses six interrelated topics on soils, nutrient use, water, livestock, methods for assessing adaptation, and the socioeconomic and food security dimensions of climate change across the agricultural sectors.

Morgan Gillespy, the executive director of one of the signatories, Food and Land Use Coalition, said:

If food security and the livelihoods of farmers are truly to be at the heart of climate negotiations in the future, then food systems need to be recognised in the Koronivia Process and this process decisively taken forward at Cop27.

Part of the challenge is to ensure that the Koronivia Process addresses food systems as a whole — from production, to nutrition, to diets. This would mean a stronger set of outcomes for the benefit of people, nature, and climate alike.

If the Koronivia Dialogue concludes weakly this week, and does not adopt a strong food systems approach, there is a real risk that food systems will remain a low priority within the UNFCCC and that we will have lost a major opportunity to put food systems at the heart of the global climate effort. Cop27 is therefore a make-or-break moment for the food systems and climate agenda.

Mongolia’s minister of environment and tourism, B Bat-Erdene, who is at Cop27 this week, has said his country needs “urgent green finance”.

As a nation which is proud of our nomadic heritage, a key focus for Mongolia at Cop27 is ensuring that we practice nature-based solutions in adapting to climate change while maintaining our traditional livelihoods and working patterns, for example in the agricultural sector, animal husbandry and crop production.

In my meetings with our international partners this week, I have been discussing how we can unlock the urgent green finance, which will allow Mongolia and other developing countries to scale up and deploy new technologies at the national level, helping to both safeguard our traditional ways of life and contribute to the global action to fight against climate change.

Indonesia to get $20 billion of finance to help shut coal power

Some good news from Cop27:

A coalition of countries will mobilise $20 billion (around £17bn) of public and private finance to help Indonesia shut coal power plants and bring forward the sector’s peak emissions date by seven years to 2030, the United States, Japan and partners have announced.

Indonesia is the world’s 5th largest greenhouse gas emitter.

The Indonesia Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), more than a year in the making, “is probably the single largest climate finance transaction or partnership ever”, a US Treasury official told reporters.

Jake Schmidt, from the US non-profit NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), said:

This is a significant new step that will help Indonesia shift rapidly away from coal-fired energy to renewable power, and begin to align Indonesia’s electricity sector with the global goal to limit warming to 1.5C.

UK climate minister ‘runs away’ from 11-year-old activist

An 11-year-old Indian activist has accused the British climate minister Zac Goldsmith of having “run away” to dodge her questions about the release of jailed climate protester.

Today, I confronted with UK 🇬🇧 Minister of Energy, Climate and Environment @ZacGoldsmith at #COP27.

I asked him, “When will you release those jailed climate activists your Govt. arrested for protesting to stop new oil & gas license across UK?”

He replied, “No idea” & run away!

— Licypriya Kangujam (@LicypriyaK) November 14, 2022

Licypriya Kangujam has been campaigning for years in India.

“When are you going to release the climate activists your government arrested for protesting against new oil and gas licences?” she asked Goldsmith.

Goldsmith starts to walk away but Kangujam pursues him before an aide stops her at a door.

Kangujam tweeted that Goldsmith said he had “no idea” in response to her question, although that is not audible in the footage.

I repeatedly asked him, when will you release them? Which date? What time? His lady Secretary pushed me two times.

He also told me that “I can do nothing”

If he can do nothing then why he is a minister? Why he’s coming to #COP27 ?

This is unacceptable. This is not fair.

— Licypriya Kangujam (@LicypriyaK) November 14, 2022

Extinction Rebellion UK tweeted its thanks to Licypriya “for speaking up for those in prison in the UK”.

The organisation accused the aide of having “pushed” the 11-year-old.

Goldsmith responded to their tweet, accusing them of bullying the unnamed aide.

What bullies you are.
She did nothing of the sort as the video shows. She couldn’t have been gentler. 
But I’ll tell you what she does do: works relentlessly-at a fraction what she’d earn elsewhere-fighting to protect nature. & she succeeds. You should thank her & then apologise

— Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) November 14, 2022

‘Anyone know who she is?’ Makes me so angry this. She’s a civil servant who can’t answer back, who works her arse off for the env & has helped achieve amazing things.
If we turn things around it will be because of people like her…the person you are seeking to bully.
Just awful

— Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) November 15, 2022

More than 380 civil society organisations from over 60 countries are calling on governments to put an end to a system of secretive tribunals that threaten global climate goals.

The system is known as investor-state dispute settlement or ISDS, and is included in many trade and investment agreements. ISDS empowers transnational corporations to sue governments in secretive tribunals outside of the national legal system, over law and policy changes that they fear could reduce their profits. Often the amounts involved can be hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars.

Fossil fuel corporations are already suing over coal phase-out, the cancellation of a tar sands oil pipeline, a ban on offshore oil drilling, and fracking regulation.

Dipti Bhatnagar from Friends of the Earth International, a signatory to the letter, said:

It is scandalous that an African country can still be sued by a foreign corporation for trying to protect the climate. Governments at Cop27 must put an end to this shady system of secret investment tribunals.

More details here:

What to expect at Cop27 today:

Patrick Greenfield

Patrick Greenfield

It’s only Tuesday but the end of the climate summit is rapidly approaching. Governments are focused on the final political agreement that will come out of Egypt. Every word matters and as we saw at the end of Cop26 last year, arguments in the final few hours can come down to whether the text includes “phase out” or “phase down” in a particular clause. Ministers arrived over the weekend in anticipation of the final tussle over wording. The role of 1.5C, finance, and loss and damage are understood to be the key dividing points.

Carbon Brief’s senior policy editor Simon Evans has a useful thread on what we might expect from the first draft of the cover decision.

#COP27 cover text latest

A doc on “possible elements” is circulating (tho not published by Egyptian pres despite making much of need for a transparent process yday)

It’s a list of the different stuff Parties want eg

☑️1.5C “urgency”
☑️Loss&damage funding arrangements “need”

— Simon Evans (@DrSimEvans) November 15, 2022

A similar doc was published on COP26 middle Sunday, though COP27 doc is shorter & less verbose

By way of comparison, here’s the first 2 sections of each…

L COP27 (framing, support)
R COP26 (context, adaptation)

— Simon Evans (@DrSimEvans) November 15, 2022

The new text doesn’t mention coal or fossil fuels (though the UK presidency “elements” text didn’t either)

L COP27 mitigation “elements”
R COP26 mitigation elements

— Simon Evans (@DrSimEvans) November 15, 2022

We can’t read too much into this text, given it’s just “elements” of what might go into the cover decision and basically just a list of asks

We’ll need to wait and see what the first draft looks like

(UK published a 1st draft on 2nd Wednesday, equiv of which would be tomorrow)

— Simon Evans (@DrSimEvans) November 15, 2022

Our reporters in Sharm el-Sheikh have launched their (unofficial) “Cop27 best-dressed competition”.

See below some of Nina Lakhani’s favourites:

Urine-filled bottles raise concerns of unhygienic conditions at Cop

Patrick Greenfield

Patrick Greenfield

Concerns have been raised about unhygienic and dangerous conditions at the Cop27 site by workers, with urine-filled bottles left behind country pavilions and engineers warning that poor-quality wiring poses a fire risk.

In the first week of the climate summit, a wall collapsed and human waste was left in pavilion areas after a last-minute scramble to get the site ready, according to a worker who spoke to the Guardian.

A Guardian reporter has seen the bottles of urine in areas where engineers are working at Cop27 as well as several photos and videos of unhygienic conditions and potentially dangerous wiring that risk shocking workers or causing a fire.

Behind the scenes at #COP27

Bottles of urine left in the last minute scramble to finish the conference centre, collapsed walls, overflowing sewage & dodgy wiring.

Workers warn of unsafe and unhygienic conditions.

— Patrick Greenfield (@pgreenfielduk) November 14, 2022

“[A few days before Cop27], the building was not even close to being finished. There were probably three to five hundred workers here 24 hours a day. There was no plumbing or electricity. There were no bathrooms available. They had been using water bottles and containers behind the pavilions to use as toilets. There were people sleeping between walls,” a worker said.

“There’s still main areas that have bottles of urine, food, cigarette butts, people sleeping … The more important places have been cleared out, I think. Everything is being run with extension cables. There’s no grounding at all. We’ve had several items destroyed in power surges due to improper grounding.”

In many countries, it is illegal not to earth wires because not doing so can cause fires and electric shocks to humans or destroy equipment.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Egyptian Cop27 presidency have been contacted for comment.

Good morning and welcome to the Guardian’s coverage of Tuesday at the Cop27 climate conference, which is themed around energy.

Overnight, the Guardian and more than 30 partners published a joint editorial calling for climate justice and urging rich countries to fulfil their moral obligation to provide adequate funding to fight climate breakdown.

Rich countries account for just one in eight people in the world today but are responsible for half of greenhouse gases. These nations have a clear moral responsibility to help. Developing nations should be given enough cash to address the dangerous conditions they did little to create – especially as a global recession looms.

Read the full editorial here:

Quick Guide

The global news organisations calling for climate action


On 15 November 2022, during the UN’s Cop27 climate summit, the Guardian and more than 30 media partners around the world co-published an editorial calling for urgent action on the climate crisis. The organisations involved are: 

Camunda News, Angola
National Observer, Canada
El Espectador, Colombia
Politiken, Denmark
Libération, France
Mediapart, France
Efimerida ton Syntakton, Greece
Kathimerini, Greece
Protagon, Greece
Telex, Hungary
The Hindu, India
Tempo, Indonesia
Irish Examiner, Ireland
Irish Independent, Ireland
Haaretz, Israel
La Repubblica, Italy
The Gleaner, Jamaica
Macaranga, Malaysia
Reforma, Mexico
Centre for Journalism Innovation & Development, Nigeria
Rappler, Philippines
Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland
Público, Portugal
Mail & Guardian, South Africa, Spain
T&T Guardian, Trinidad and Tobago
Daily Mirror, UK
The Guardian, UK
Covering Climate Now, US
Miami Herald, US
The Nation, US
Rolling Stone, US
The Environmental Reporting Collective, International
Pacific Environment Weekly, Pacific islands

Thank you for your feedback.

I’m Oliver Holmes, and you can send me tips, stories and questions at [email protected] or on Twitter at @olireports.

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