Rishi Sunak urged to commit to climate crisis fight ahead of COP27

King Charles hosts Cop27 reception at Buckingham Palace

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Chris Stark, chief executive of the Climate Change Committee, insisted Britain must showcase the benefits of taking action on the economy, energy security and environment at COP27 in Egypt.

He said: “Now, as leaders and negotiators prepare to travel to Sharm El-Sheikh for the next climate summit, UK leadership is needed again.

“We must keep world leaders’ feet to the fire to deliver their obligations under the Glasgow Climate Pact.

“And we must ‘walk the talk’ at home and demonstrate the multiple benefits of acting on climate: for our economy, for our energy security – and for our environment.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will join US President Joe Biden and France’s Emmanuel Macron to pledge further action to save the planet at the UN climate change conference.

Former PM Boris Johnson and Environment Secretary Therese Coffey will also attend.

Dale Vince, founder of green energy firm Ecotricity, said: “At COP26 in Glasgow the world agreed to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C. But the plans submitted by each country since then will set us on course for 2.5C – which is disastrous beyond words.”

Mr Vince, who is backing the Daily Express Green Britain Need You campaign, continued: “It’s vital that world leaders get real on this issue – words are not enough, we need concrete plans, we need action.”

Mr Sunak’s spokesman said the PM was hoping to make progress on pledges to halt deforestation by 2030 and to agree new partnerships on clean and renewable energy.

Mr Sunak tweeted there was “no long-term prosperity without action on climate change” or energy security without investment in renewables.

The UK has felt the effects of climate change this year with heat of over 40C leading to a drought.

The Wildlife Trusts said: “To have a global voice, the UK must ensure it is taking the right action at home – especially as we are one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.”

Green Alliance called for a plan to accelerate methane cuts to demonstrate the UK’s global leadership on climate change.

Dustin Benton, policy director at the think-tank, said: “As methane emissions are accelerating the warming of the planet faster than carbon dioxide, it’s essential that methane and carbon dioxide are cut rapidly.”

Six crucial issues that the delegates need to discuss

World leaders are to discuss action to tackle climate change at the 27th UN climate summit. Here are the biggest issues to be debated by delegates from more than 200 governments:

  • Cash

Bob Ward, policy director at Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE.

Finance will be critical at COP27, particularly against a backdrop of lingering debts from the pandemic. It seems unlikely that rich countries will reach their overdue target of providing $100billion to poor countries but negotiations have already started on a new higher target. Poor countries are demanding additional money for loss caused by climate change.

  • Methane

Prof Euan Nisbet from the Greenhouse Gas Group at Royal Holloway University

Methane has shown the sharpest growth on record. It is urgent that the Global Methane Pledge should be made to work, especially by cutting emissions from coal mining and from landfills. Humanity needs China, India and Russia to join the Pledge.

  • Coal

Dr Robin Lamboll of Imperial College London

The recent gas squeeze has resulted in UK coal stations being given an extra lease of life this winter, although the 2024 deadline for total shutdown is still plausible. Coal burning for electricity has been 10 per cent lower in the first half of the year than last year, in spite of coal usage increasing across Europe.

  • Trees

Dr Tilly Collins, deputy director of Imperial’s Centre for Environmental Policy

DEFRA has worked hard to provide funds and structural support for increased tree planting. They collaborated with the Forestry Commission and key stakeholders to design and establish the Nature for Climate Fund tree programme. The current political uncertainty… now puts achieving the Government’s ambitious but excellent tree planting target in serious doubt.

  • Cars

Dr Drew Pearce of Imperial’s Department of Physics

Of the 20 largest car manufacturers only GM, Toyota and Honda have committed to fully ending production of combustion vehicles by 2040. Some have adopted softer targets such as committing to all-electric vehicle sales in certain markets. Little progress has been made to support retrofitting.

  • Finance

Dr Ben Caldecott, director of the UK Centre for Greening Finance & Investment

Rishi Sunak, as Chancellor, announced the UK would introduce mandatory net zero transition plans for large companies. This remains a world-leading commitment. He established a taskforce to advise on the detail and it publishes its recommendations at COP27.

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