In the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak’s indecision on his participation in COP27 provokes controversy

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak outside 10 Downing Street in London on October 26, 2022.

Controversy has swelled in London in recent days, after the new Conservative Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced that he would not be traveling to Sharm El-Sheikh for COP27, from November 7 to 18. . The announcement was made when the United Kingdom was the organizer of COP26 in November 2021 in Glasgow and that the Briton Alok Sharma is still the president – until the passing of the torch to the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry. Downing Street first explained at the end of last week that Mr Sunak, who took over from Liz Truss on October 25, wanted to focus on domestic politics and work to finalize an amending budget to be made public. November 17.

Monday, October 31, faced with the avalanche of criticism, the leader’s spokesperson changed his speech: “The Prime Minister remains focused on preparing [du budget]. Any possible participation in COP27 will be conditional on its state of progress. »

A “huge lack of leadership”

Rishi Sunak has no room for error, having promised to ” solving the problems “ caused by the plans of Mme Truss, forced to resign after having panicked the financial markets with its policy of massive unfunded tax cuts. However, even within his political majority, some believe that Mr. Sunak has the wrong priority and is sending the wrong signal, while the rich countries have still not honored their promise to raise 100 billion dollars (101 billion euros). euros) per year to help poor countries in their transition and that the alarming signs of a runaway climate are multiplying.

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Labor leader Keir Starmer denounced a “huge lack of leadership”.Rishi Sunak obviously finds it difficult to understand that fighting global warming is not just a story of international reputation. The energy transition can create job opportunities, increase our energy security and reduce our electricity bills,” lamented Ed Miliband, the climate change minister in Mr Starmer’s shadow cabinet.

The harshest remarks came from Alok Sharma, who will lead the British delegation to Sharm El-Sheikh. Praised for his mastery of negotiations during the Glasgow conference, this conservative MP, usually discreet, said to himself ” very disappointed “ of the possible absence of Mr. Sunak in Egypt. In the columns of Sunday TimesSunday October 30, he points out that going to COP27 “ allows you to continue the dialogue with other leaders [le président français, Emmanuel Macron, et son homologue américain, Joe Biden, ont annoncé leur venue]. And this underlines our commitment [d’atteindre les objectifs de réduction des émissions de CO2]. »

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