Thursday, 01 Dec 2022

Global anger at Sunaks Cop27 snub that raises fears over UKs climate crisis stance

Global anger at Sunaks Cop27 snub that raises fears over UKs climate crisis stance


Global anger at Sunaks Cop27 snub that raises fears over UKs climate crisis stance

Rishi Sunak's decision to snub the Cop27 UN climate talks, and to keep King Charles from attending, has angered and upset countries around the world, risking the UK's standing on the world stage and raising concerns over his government's commitment to tackling the climate crisis.

Several developing countries told the Guardian of their dismay. Carlos Fuller, Belize's ambassador to the UN, said: "I can understand why the king was asked not to attend - keeping him out of the fray. However, as the principal UK policymaker and the Cop26 president, the PM should have led the summit.

"It seems as if they are washing their hands of leadership."

Sunak's reason for not going - to concentrate on the UK's economic statement - was questioned. Mohamed Nasheed, speaker of the Maldives parliament and former president, said: "[It's] very worrying that the UK thought there was anything more serious than climate change. You can count the pennies but might lose the pounds."

Developed countries were also concerned. One senior government aide said: "It appears as if the new UK prime minister wants to wash his hands of the previously strong role the government played on international climate action. It's another stab in the back for [Cop26 president Alok] Sharma."

The Cop26 talks in Glasgow last November, headed by Boris Johnson and chaired by cabinet minister, Alok Sharma, ended with a global consensus on limiting temperature rises to 1.5C for the first time, a major diplomatic achievement that was widely lauded. Sunak attended and led discussions on climate finance, likely to be a major issue at Cop27.

Instead of attending Cop27, Sunak will speak at a reception for business and environmental leaders to be hosted by the king at Buckingham Palace this Friday, two days before Cop27 begins. But his failure to attend the talks has raised concerns over the UK's stance on the climate crisis, with the government handing out new oil and gas licences and tax breaks for increasing fossil fuel production.

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