Under pressure to rethink his decision not to attend the United Nations’ climate meet, ‘COP27’, in Egypt next week, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak did a U-turn on Wednesday saying he would go to Sharm-el-Sheik for the annual meeting.
“There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change. There is no energy security without investing in renewables. That is why I will attend @COP27P next week: to deliver on Glasgow’s legacy of building a secure and sustainable future,” Mr. Sunak tweeted on Wednesday morning, before Prime Ministers’ Questions in the House of Commons. Downing Street had said last Thursday that Mr. Sunak was focussed on a November 17 autumn Budgetary statement and was not expected to travel to Egypt.
A group of parliamentarians from various parties had written to Mr. Sunak on Monday asking him to attend the meeting, which was hosted by the U.K. in Glasgow last year, when Boris Johnson was Prime Minister. Mr. Johnson had also confirmed that he would be attending the gathering in Sharm-El-Sheikh which begins on Sunday. Over the last few days , Downing Street appeared to have begun the process of walking back Mr. Sunak’s decision not to attend. On Monday, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson told the British press that the decision was “under review”.
U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron are among the confirmed attendees of COP27, adding pressure on Mr. Sunak to attend. King Charles III, who has a long history of climate and environmental advocacy, was reportedly advised not to attend the conference by former Prime Minister Liz Truss. Buckingham Palace will instead hold a climate related event on Friday, whose guests will include Mr. Sunak and U.S. Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry.
“Yet again we see a Prime Minister who only makes decisions for reasons of political management, not the national interest,” shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband tweeted, accusing Mr. Sunak of going to Egypt to “avoid embarrassment”.