Rishi Sunak will not attend the Cop27 climate summit, Downing Street has said, despite the new British prime minister having promised this week to prioritise the environment.
His predecessor, Liz Truss, had reportedly planned to go to at least one day of the summit, but Sunak’s spokesperson said he had “other pressing domestic commitments”.
The environment sector had been hoping Sunak would take the climate crisis more seriously than Truss. Some positive signals came early this week, when he announced he would uphold the ban on fracking, a commitment made in the 2019 Tory manifesto.
“The UK is forging ahead of many other countries on net zero. We will obviously continue to work closely with Egypt as the hosts of Cop27 and to make sure that all countries are making progress on the historic commitments they made at the Glasgow climate pact.”
It is not known if Sunak will allow the King to attend Cop27. Truss reportedly advised him against it, despite him having attended Cop26 in Glasgow last year as the then heir to the throne. The Queen gave a video message to attendees.
When he was business secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg had planned to attend the summit, saying he would tell attendees that “fracking is green”. His replacement, Grant Shapps, has not said if he plans to attend.
On Thursday, Sunak reappointed Graham Stuart as climate minister, but kicked him out of cabinet. He insisted, however, that climate change remained a “priority”.
Experts have been sceptical about Stuart’s proclamations on the environment, including his claims that the greenest oil and gas came from Britain.
This week Sunak confirmed Alok Sharma will also no longer be at the cabinet table in his role of Cop26 president, but he and another cabinet minister are expected to attend the Cop27 conference.
Source: The Guardian