Rishi Sunak insists Britain is a ‘leader’ and can ‘walk tall’ at COP28 climate summit in Dubai… as he is relegated to the back row of ‘family photo’ behind Albania
- World leaders gathering in Dubai as they try to plot path to tackle climate change
Rishi Sunak insisted Britain is still a ‘leader’ on climate change today as he attended the COP28 summit.
The PM dismissed warnings that the UK’s standing has been ‘diminished’ by a rethink on the government’s Net Zero strategy as he said the country could ‘walk tall’.
But Mr Sunak was left languishing at the back of the ‘family photo’ of leaders at the gathering this morning, behind the Albanian PM.
As head of state, King Charles was in the front row of the group near French president Emmanuel Macron. The monarch has been giving a keynote speech on the environment, an issue he has campaigned on for decades.
But the EU commission’s Ursula von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel were more prominently placed in the middle.
Mr Sunak was asked at the summit how he would respond to those accusing him of not being serious about climate action.
Rishi Sunak insisted Britain is still a ‘leader’ on climate change today as he attended the COP28 summit
Mr Sunak was left languishing at the back of the ‘family photo’ of leaders at the gathering this morning, behind the Albanian PM. As head of state, King Charles was in the front row of the group
The monarch has been giving a keynote speech on the environment, an issue he has campaigned on for decades
‘We have got an incredible track record in decarbonising in the UK, faster than any other major economy. We should be really proud of that,’ the premier said.
‘And I’ll be proud of that record at my meetings later today.’
Mr Sunak added: ‘We’re leading the world in new industries like offshore wind. We’re protecting nature at home, so we’ve got a great story to tell.’
He said other countries are ‘deeply appreciative’ of the support that they are receiving from the UK to help them with the transition.
Speaking to journalists en route to Dubai, Mr Sunak said: ‘We’ve got a better track record than any other major economy in decarbonising.
‘Any which way I look at it, we are a leader on this issue. We have been, we’re continuing to do so. So I will walk around very proudly tomorrow championing the UK’s achievements in this space.’
It came after Lord Goldsmith, who resigned as his environment minister accusing Mr Sunak of being ‘uninterested’ in green issues, told Sky News: ‘There’s no doubt our standing has diminished considerably in recent months.
‘The UK is just not seen by our allies – big and also small island members of the commonwealth – as a reliable or serious partner.’
Downing Street has warned China that it must step up its efforts to tackle climate change.
In pointed comments, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said other countries need to do their bit to address global warming – and singled out China as ‘vitally important’.
He said ‘significant action’ must be taken to ‘keep 1.5 alive’ – the goal of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5C.
Asked what Mr Sunak hopes to achieve at the climate summit, the spokesman said: ‘He is clear-eyed about the challenges on a global scale that we still face on climate change. There is some significant action that must take place to keep 1.5 alive.
‘He understands the challenges all countries – and that includes China, which is obviously vitally important – have to take action. We need to see not just commitments but real-world demonstration and action, as we have done, to make sure that this progress continues.’
Asked if the PM was frustrated China is not doing enough, the spokesman said: ‘It’s simply a matter of fact that China, given its size and economy, is a crucial part of this.’
But Mr Sunak refused to single out China today, saying: ‘Everyone collectively needs to do more to make sure that we do reduce emissions sufficiently.’
China, together with India, watered down the Cop26 climate pact in 2021 when Britain hosted the summit in Glasgow.
In the 2015 Paris Agreement, countries vowed to limit the average global temperature rise to 2C above pre-industrial levels and make every effort to stop it rising above 1.5C.
Cop28 is the first time that countries will assess progress towards this goal in what is being called the ‘global stocktake’.
Mr Sunak’s spokesman said it would be the moment where the world ‘takes a long hard look in the mirror to see if we are delivering on the 2015 Paris Agreement’.
COP28 is the first time that countries will assess progress towards this goal in what is being called the ‘global stocktake’
Rishi Sunak has warned China that it must step up its efforts to tackle climate change as he prepared to fly to Dubai last night for Cop28
Source: Read Full Article