Rishi Sunak to Attend the COP27 Conference
Rishi Sunak will attend the COP27 conference, his first huge step after taking charge as UK prime minister.
On Wednesday, Britain’s new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, announced that he would join the UN climate conference in Egypt after refusing to attend the global event early. After inheriting an economic crisis from his predecessor, Liz Truss, Sunak argued that pressing domestic commitments would keep him away from COP27 in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
However, this fuelled doubts about Sunak’s interest in the planetary emergency. Critics mentioned that the inexperienced leader passed up an opportunity to stand with US President Joe Biden and European peers.
Rishi Sunak tweeted that there is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change. There is no energy without investing in renewables. He added that this is the reason that he will attend COP27P next week, which will deliver on Glasgow’s legacy of building a secure and sustainable future.
The Scottish city was the venue for COP26 under the leadership of Truss’ predecessor, Boris Johnson, who made climate change and the goal of making Britain net zero in emissions a signature policy. Truss seriously questioned that commitment with her open doubts about net zero and blocked King Charles III from attending COP27.
The new monarch is a lifelong campaigner for the environment. Sunak’s new interest will revive the debate about whether Britain should allow him to press the climate topic in Egypt. The monarch will hold a pre-COP reception at Buckingham Palace on Friday for business leaders, campaigners, and politicians, including US climate change envoy John Kerry. Sunak changed his mind after Johnson announced he would attend COP27 at Egypt's invitation in a Sky News interview on Tuesday, potentially upsetting Sunak.
Ofram GB climate lead Tracy Carty stated that if the UK wants to be seen as a global leader, they need to lead. It is only right that the prime minister attends the COP27 conference. She also noted that it is critical that the UK step up for the benefit of countries bearing the brunt of climate change and for its credibility on the global stage.
Boris Johnson, during his tenure, championed renewable energy as the key to a greener UK economy and its quest for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. On taking office, Sunak demoted COP26 president Alok Sharma from his cabinet. Sharma stated that he was delighted at Sunak’s change of mind. However, Ed Miliband of the opposition Labour Party accused the new leader of being faked. He tweeted that the prime minister had been shamed into going to COP27 by the torrent of disbelief that he would fail to turn up. He also added that the prime minister would avoid embarrassment and not provide leadership.
Caroline Luca, the Green Party’s only MP in the UK parliament, welcomed Sunak’s announcement. She highlighted this as a humiliating misstep on the international stage and reminded him that he needs to lead on climate matters. However, now he should increase the UK's ambition on emissions reduction goals and pay what the country owes to global climate funds.