UK Prime Minister has confirmed he will now attend COP27 following backlash

Rishi Sunak has announced today he will now be attending key climate conference COP27, following backlash from campaigners, MPs and opposition parties.

A spokesperson for Mr Sunak said on Friday he would not attend COP, as he was dealing with ‘other pressing commitments including preparations for the autumn Budget.’

But in a U-turn on this decision, the new prime minister took to Twitter to say he would now appear at the conference: ‘There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change,’ he wrote. ‘There is no energy security without investing in renewables. That is why I will attend @COP27P next week: to deliver on Glasgow’s legacy of building a secure and sustainable future.’

The news comes after former PM Boris Johnson confirmed last night he would be going to the conference, telling Sky News he had a ‘particular interest’ in the environment.

King Charles, who was discouraged from appearing at COP27 by Liz Truss, is also set to hold a reception at Buckingham Palace ahead of the summit, which is thought to have out pressure on Sunak.

Green MP Caroline Lucas reacted to the news on Twitter: ‘Glad to see Sunak’s screeching U-turn on #COP27, but what an embarrassing mis-step on the world stage. Let this be a lesson to him – climate leadership matters. Now he urgently needs to increase UK ambition on emission reduction targets & pay what we owe to global climate funds.’

One World signage

Sunak had already faced a raft of criticism from environmental campaigners, MPs and Labour leader Kier Starmer who called his decision an ‘absolute failure of leadership.’

Green MP Caroline Lucas has also urged Sunak to reconsider, writing on Twitter that his decision to not go ‘makes a mockery of any government claims on continued climate leadership.’

COP26 president Alok Sharma had also urged the prime minister to reconsider, warning that he risked losing the UK’s position as a climate leader.

The conference comes at a key moment, as a UN report released last week warned that current climate pledges did not go far enough and would not enable the world to reach the 1.5°C target. 

Major leaders of 200 government have agreed to appear at COP27, including President Joe Biden who has recently introduced a landmark climate bill, the US Inflation Reduction Bill.

However, renowned activist Greta Thunberg has said she will not be going, as she accused the conference of greenwashing and said nations do not use COP as an opportunity to create real change.

Photo by Markus Spiske


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