UK PM Rishi Sunak reverses earlier decision, will now attend COP27

UK PM Rishi Sunak reverses earlier decision, will now attend COP27
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has reversed a much-criticised decision not to attend the global climate summit in Egypt.
2 min read
02 November, 2022
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will attend COP27 in Egypt [Getty]

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will attend the COP27 summit in Egypt next week, he said on Wednesday, reversing a much-criticised decision to skip the annual climate gathering in order to work on pressing economic issues at home.

"There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change. There is no energy security without investing in renewables," Sunak wrote on Twitter.

He said he was attending the summit to "deliver on Glasgow's legacy of building a secure and sustainable future" - a reference to the deal struck in the British city at last year's event.

The deal was meant to ensure that the world still has a chance to avert the worst impacts of global warming.

Sunak had faced criticism from climate activists, opposition politicians and even some within his own party after his office said last week he was expected to skip the 27th session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference to focus on "pressing domestic commitments".

Sunak, who became Britain's third prime minister in two months last week, has been working with finance minister Jeremy Hunt on a package of tax rises and spending cuts to repair the country's public finances, with a plan due on 17 November.

"The prime minister has been shamed into going to COP27 by the torrent of disbelief that he would fail to turn up," the opposition Labour Party's climate policy spokesperson Ed Miliband said. "He is going to avoid embarrassment not to provide leadership."

Britain's COP26 president Alok Sharma, who had criticised Sunak's initial decision to skip the summit in a newspaper interview, said he was "delighted" the prime minister was going to the conference.