Global anger over Sunak’s Cop27 snub raises fears over UK stance on climate crisis | Climate crisis

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by Rishi Sunak decision to snub COP27 of UN climate talksand to prevent King Charles from attending, angered and upset countries around the world, jeopardizing the UK’s standing on the world stage and raising concerns about his government’s commitment to fight against 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, which kept him out of the fray. However, as Britain’s top policymaker and chairman of Cop26, the prime minister should have led the summit.

“Looks like they’re washing their hands of leadership.”

Sunak’s reason for not going – to focus on UK economic statement – was questioned. Mohamed Nasheed, Speaker of the Maldives Parliament and former President, said: “[It’s] very worrying that the UK thinks there is something more serious than climate change. You can count the pennies, but you risk losing pounds.

Developed countries were also concerned. A senior government official said: “It looks like the new UK Prime Minister wants to wash his hands of the previously important role the government has played in international climate action. It’s another stab in the back for [Cop26 president Alok] Sharma.

The Cop26 talks in Glasgow last November, led by Boris Johnson and chaired by Minister Alok Sharma, ended with a global consensus on limiting temperature rise at 1.5C for the first time, a major diplomatic achievement that was widely acclaimed. Sunak attended and led discussions on climate financelikely 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 inability to attend the talks has raised concerns about the UK’s stance on the climate crisis, the government issuance of new oil and gas licenses and tax breaks to increase fossil fuel production.

Sunak could also be overshadowed in his absence by his former boss: the Observer revealed that Johnson hopes to attend COP27 summitfollowing the precedent set by former leaders including Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

A Commonwealth diplomat said: “Despite all of Boris Johnson’s ills, no one can reasonably accuse him of ignoring or failing to prioritize climate action. The UK benefited from the leadership of Alok Sharma and Lord Goldsmith.

“We hope [Sunak’s stance] is not a reversal of the positions the UK has taken in recent years in either area.

It is rare that the head of state of a major Cop does not attend the transfer of power. After summoning the Historic Paris Agreement of 2015French President François Hollande was warmly welcomed at the next UN Climate COPin Marrakech.

The United Kingdom still holds the presidency of the UN negotiations, until the reins are handed over to the Egyptian government at the Cop27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh. This puts the UK government in a key position in the long-running climate negotiations, and the Prime Minister is normally expected to hold closed-door bilateral meetings with his counterparts around the world, focusing on climate but including other other topics, such as the War in Ukraine and the global economic crisis.

Rachel Kyte, a former senior World Bank official who is now dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University in the United States, and a close watcher of the cops, said the war in Ukraine and the Kingdom’s geopolitical relations United were also key reasons to go.

“Much of the world is sitting on the sidelines, affected by the war, but does not engage in our defense of values ​​in Ukraine,” she said. “We have to be with them on what’s important to them if we want them to be with us on what’s important to us. You can’t build relationships unless you show up.

Leaders such as Egypt’s Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, France’s Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UN Secretary General António Guterres will play key roles at COP27. There is a question mark over US President Joe Biden, who is facing a midterm election, but his special envoy John Kerry will be in talks throughout.

The Egyptian government has expressed “disappointment” with Sunak’s decision.

Paul Bledsoe, a former climate adviser to Clinton in the White House, now at the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington DC, pointed to a global failure of right-wing leaders to address the climate crisis. “No priority is more important than climate change, which is a real-world meltdown, not just the vanity of conservative politics,” he said. “Conservative governments around the world, especially America’s radical Republican Party, need to get their heads out of the sand.”

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