Close this search box.

‘Climate change denial deserves the death penalty’ – Activist takes his message to Egypt UN summit

By Caroline O’Doherty

Outside the Cop27 venue in the blazing Egyptian sun, a bare-armed Donegal man with a placard was beginning to feel the heat a little too intensely on his skin.

Conor Ó Maírtin from Letterkenny was hoping his efforts would have the same effect on those inside.

His bi-lingual placard read “climate change denial deserves the death penalty” and he said he was targeting politicians attending the summit to be seen rather than to act.

The 45-year-old long-time activist said he didn’t really want to see executions but felt the need for a strong statement.

“If I can keep the deniers out of power, that’s the main thing. There’s no more time for their nonsense,” he said.

“Absolutely everything has to be done to prevent further climate change, whatever the amount of money that has to be spent, whatever the effort that has to be made.”

Indoors as the opening speeches of the summit were made, the consensus was that there was also a gap there between the words used and the actions intended.

The opening was delayed by almost two hours while heads of delegations argued over the final agenda.

Finding a way to include ‘loss and damage’ without making any commitments was the problem. The proposal that rich high carbon-polluting nations pay for the climate-related catastrophes suffered by poor low-polluter countries is hugely contentious.

Eventually it was agreed the agenda would include “matters relating to funding arrangements responding to loss and damage”, a breakthrough as it is the first time it has been on a Cop agenda, but a vague reference matched by woolly mentions in the speeches.

Ironically, this Cop is billed as the “Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Summit”, the Egyptian hosts stressing the time for talk is over.

Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian foreign affairs minister who assumed the role of Cop27 president yesterday, said the political and economic crises of the past year must not derail progress.