The Guardian take on Rishi Sunak’s Cop27 journey: Putting the planet on a path to hell | Editorial
Rishi Sunak is not interested in the climate emergency – and everyone knows it. Forced to make a whirlwind visit to COP27, Mr. Sunak’s intransigence made him a pariah at the UN summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. He met Emmanuel Macron in France and the far-right Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Melon, to bring up a subject – “illegal immigration” – which Mr. Sunak obviously cares about. But most world leaders were not going to give time to a Prime Minister who had prevented the new British monarch from attending the summit and only came because he feared being eclipsed by Boris Johnson. When Mr. Sunak showed up, it was with his predecessor’s plan and slogans. Embarrassingly, Mr Johnson took center stage at Cop27 – from behind the scenes.
The Prime Minister’s record reveals a politician who governs in the narrow political interest of the Conservatives rather than the national interest. To cut fuel and air taxes as chancellor just days before the latest cop summit – hosted by the UK – showed his true colors. Pledges to limit onshore wind and solar development during the Tory leadership campaign signaled that personal ambition was more important than climate goals. At COP26, countries pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures. Britain had wantedkeep 1.5C alive”. Mr. Sunak seems to want her dead.
In power, he hastened the decline of the green agenda, ousting Cop26 President Alok Sharma and Climate Minister Graham Stuart from the cabinet. Cabinet committees are where political arguments are debated. Under Mr Johnson there was two cabinet committees dedicated to the climate, one chaired by Mr. Sharma and the other by the Prime Minister. But now “net zero” has been incorporated into a committee on “home and economic affairs”, with a focus on energy security. Mr Sunak cynically uses the war in Ukraine to say Britain should be self-sufficient on its own fossil fuels. But Britain should reduce its dependence on carbon-based energy and help end the climate emergency.
Mr Johnson told his Red Sea audience that ‘now is not the time to leave wobbly on net zero”. Mr. Sunak is shaking and wobbling. Its plans to extract more oil and gas from the North Sea are not compatible with the UK’s net zero commitment. The construction of a coal mine in Cumbria. Extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere may expand the space for positive emissions, but the technology is far from being deployed.
A global political crisis of energy transition is brewing. “The extinction of humanitylooms, but Britain is counting the beans. As Mr Sunak says he will spend the £11billion promised by Mr Johnson to help poorer countries adapt to global warming, he won’t say he will stick to the five-year plan to pay out the money. If the money is spread over a longer period, it will mean cuts in climate finance. It will hurt the poorest people in the world. Mr Sunak could sell it as more money to the British. Charity can start at home, but what if your house is on fire?
The UK government is playing a confidence trick that risks trapping the world in fossil fuel addiction. Mr Sunak pretends to talk about environmental issues while peddling green charade policies and economic bloodshed. This type of policy opens, in the words of UN Secretary General António Guterres, the climate highway to hell.