Sunak ‘has to play to home audience’ says GB News host
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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to urge world leaders to push for “clean growth” during a speech at COP27, a global event of which he is now present after U-turning on an original decision not to attend the climate summit. Mr Sunak, who will address leaders including US President Joe Biden and France’s Emmanuel Macron at the event in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, will also call for countries to stick to commitments made at COP26 last year, which was held in Glasgow. Mr Sunak touched down in Egypt yesterday ahead of the conference commencement.
He is also expected to say that world leaders need to “move further and faster” to swerve the worst possible impacts of climate change by limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, and he is expected to announce more than £200million in funding to protect forests and for green technologies in developing countries.
Mr Sunak is expected to say: “The world came together in Glasgow with one last chance to create a plan that would limit global temperature rises to 1.5C. The question today is: can we summon the collective will to deliver on those promises?
“I believe we can. By honouring the pledges we made in Glasgow, we can turn our struggle against climate change into a global mission for new jobs and clean growth.
“And we can bequeath our children a greener planet and a more prosperous future. That’s a legacy we could be proud of.”
The Prime Minister’s attendance at COP27 marks his first international outing since first becoming leader of Britain following the resignation of Liz Truss.
Mr Sunak’s team had originally said that number 10’s priority was addressing the domestic economy, which Downing Street has been scrambling to fix amid soaring inflation and following former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s disastrous mini-budget.
While Mr Sunak changed tack and touched down in Egypt on Sunday in a bid to signal his commitment to climate change, critics claim his screeching U-turn indicates that the Prime Minister does not take the climate crisis as seriously as he should.
Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas tweeted: “Glad to see Sunak’s screeching U-turn on COP27, but what an embarrassing misstep on the world stage. Let this be a lesson to him – climate leadership matters. Now he urgently needs to increase UK ambition on emission reduction targets and pay what we owe to global climate funds.”
Others have questioned some of the Conservative Party’s policies which they claim scupper the UK’s green credentials.
Prof Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, who is at the summit, told the Guardian: “He (Sunak) has already exhibited his disinclination to make the UK a leader in the global fight against human-induced climate change by initially refusing to come to COP27 and hand over the presidency from COP26 to Egypt at Cop27. His actions to allow drilling for more fossil fuels in the North Sea are exactly the opposite of leadership.”
This is despite Mr Sunak unveiling his goal to make Britain a “clean energy superpower”, the same rhetoric Labour has been using for months.
The Prime Minister said ahead of the summit: “When the world came together in Glasgow last year, nations agreed on a historic road map for preventing catastrophic global warming. As I travel to COP27 in Egypt on Sunday, it is more important than ever that we deliver on those pledges.
“Fighting climate change is not just a moral good – is it fundamental to our future prosperity and security. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and contemptible manipulation of energy prices has only reinforced the importance of ending our dependence on fossil fuels.We need to move further and faster to transition to renewable energy, and I will ensure the UK is at the forefront of this global movement as a clean energy superpower.”
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In another attempt to salvage his green reputation, he has said that “there is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change”.
While Mr Sunak’s changing position on the climate summit has made some question his commitment to tackling what some would say is the biggest issue of our time, the UK claims it has cut carbon emissions faster than any other G7 country.
Britain is also a world leader in offshore wind, which together with onshore and solar now accounts for more than 40 percent of the UK’s energy supply.
Sam Hall, from the Conservative Environment Network, tweeted: “Economically prudent, environmentally ambitious climate action is one of the UK’s greatest policy successes and sources of diplomatic clout, and perhaps the best example of Global Britain. As the COP presidency transfers to Egypt, it is welcome the PM will lead the UK delegation.”
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