Nancy Pelosi mobbed by cameras at Cop27 as midterms hang in balance

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Nancy Pelosi was mobbed by crowds at the Cop27 global climate summit on Thursday as control of US Congress hangs in the balance.

The Speaker was surrounded by heavy security at the venue in Sharm el-Sheikh. The trip is her first major overseas visit since the hammer attack on her husband Paul Pelosi at the couple’s home in San Francisco.

US staff and United Nations security guards battled to hold back throngs of camera crews as Ms Pelosi made her way through the conference hall, where she paused for a moment to speak with youth and child activists at their first-ever Cop pavilion.

On Monday, she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that her husband had a “long haul” of a recovery and was traumatized by the assault which had cracked his skull in two places.

Ms Pelosi led a congressional delegation in Egypt to highlight the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act, essentially the largest piece of climate legislation in US history along with the Bipartisan Infrastructure and the CHIPS acts, also intended to accelerate the US’s transition to clean energy.

President Joe Biden is set to arrive in Sharm el-Sheikh on Friday.

At a panel discussion, hosted by the Atlantic Council on Thursday afternoon, the Speaker said that Republican colleagues had also been invited to attend Cop27 with them but “none came... unless they are going to surprise us,” she said.

US midterm results were still coming in today with Republicans close to controlling the House, which would unseat Ms Pelosi from the top job as Speaker.

Control of the Senate hinges on two tight races in Arizona and Nevada, after the Georgia battle between incumbent Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker heads to a run off.

Ms Pelosi said that it was too soon to tell how the midterms would impact the US fight against climate change, highlighting that many Republicans still consider it a “hoax”.

“We have had, shall we say, a disagreement on the subject,’ she said at the event with chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Kathy Castor. ‘When Kathy had her bill on the floor, our [Republican] colleagues said why are we having this discussion, there is no climate crisis, it’s all a hoax.’

Rep Castor, who has just won re-election in her Florida district, also noted that it seemed quite likely that the GOP would take control of the House and explained the potential repercussions for tackling climate change.

“They will nix the Climate Committee, they have not really been partners in tackling the climate crisis. And it's inexplicable because the world's top scientists tell us we are running out of time,” she said.

She went on to say that the Inflation Reduction Act and other legislation would keep the US a leader in science and technology, a position they were “not willing to cede” to another country.

“We are one of the strongest democracies - it was a little shaky there for a while,” she added. “But our values tell us to use our God-given resources and the blessings of science and technology to help tackle this crisis. And that's what we intend to do.”

Pelosi also said that tacking action on the climate crisis was about protecting the future of the planet “for the children”.

“I do believe that this is God's creation, and we have the responsibility to be good stewards of it,” she said. “In that spirit, I would hope that we could come to common ground for the children, for their future.”

She also explained a previous remark about taking - and throwing - punches for children, which riffed on Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote, which says that “credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena”.

“I just take it to the next step, in the arena you have to throw a punch,” she said. “That’s what it is. You have to throw a punch. For the children,” she said, to laughter.