Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate denounced world leaders for continuing to support new coal, oil, and gas projects despite overwhelming evidence that extracting and burning more fossil fuels will exacerbate deadly climate chaos.
"The focus for many leaders is about making deals for fossil fuel lobbyists, surviving the next election cycle, and grabbing as much short-term profit as possible," Nakate said in Sharm El-Sheikh. "You are sowing the wind and frontline communities are reaping the whirlwind," said Nakate. "You are sowing seeds of coal, oil, and gas while frontline communities are reaping havoc, devastation, and destruction."
Nakate said that oil and gas representatives are turning COP27 into "a sales and marketing conference for more pollution and more destruction and more devastation."
She was alluding to the presence of more than 630 fossil fuel lobbyists at the meeting, which is being held in a heavily policed and expensive resort city.
Nakate told Democracy Now, "My worry is that the environment and biodiversity is going to be destroyed. We are going to find ourselves in an accelerated climate crisis, and profits are going to end up in pockets of already-rich people."
Nakate detailed how the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency is intensifying suffering in the Global South, including by reducing access to clean water and food and increasing disease transmission and displacement.