Sunak urges global push for clean growth

The fight against climate change can be turned “a global mission for new jobs and clean growth”, Rishi Sunak is to tell world leaders at the COP27 summit.

The prime minister will say it is essential nations stick to commitments made at COP26 in Glasgow a year ago.

Mr Sunak will unveil funding to boost jobs and clean energy in developing nations, UK forests, and rainforests.

He is joining other world leaders in Egypt, including US President Joe Biden and France’s Emmanuel Macron.

Mr Sunak, who arrived in Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday night, is making his first outing on the international stage since becoming prime minister last month.

He reversed a decision not to attend the UN summit earlier this week.

The PM faced backlash from opposition MPs and campaigners after he initially declined the invite as he said he was too busy preparing the November budget.

Mr Sunak will also meet French President Mr Macron at the summit, where the topic of migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats will likely be raised.

In his opening address on Monday, Mr Sunak will urge global leaders to “move further and faster” to avoid the worst impact of climate change by limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

He will tell world leaders that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “reinforced” the importance of ending dependence on fossil fuels, and will argue the move can boost new green industries.

“The world came together in Glasgow with one last chance to create a plan that would limit global temperature rises to 1.5C. The question today is: can we summon the collective will to deliver on those promises?” he will say.

“By honouring the pledges we made in Glasgow, we can turn our struggle against climate change into a global mission for new jobs and clean growth. And we can bequeath our children a greener planet and a more prosperous future.”

However, it comes as Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), has warned that the 1.5C target is “barely within reach”.

And the UN’s weather and climate body has released a report showing that the rate at which sea levels are rising has doubled since 1993.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has described the report as a “chronicle of climate chaos” and urged governments at COP27 to answer the planet’s “distress signal” with “ambitious, credible climate action”.

Downing Street said Mr Sunak will also announce a further £65.5m for the clean energy innovation facility which provides grants to researchers and scientists in developing countries working on clean technologies – from biomass-powered refrigeration in India to lithium-ion batteries in Nigeria.

It said the UK will also commit £90m for conservation in the Congo Basin rainforest, and £65m to support indigenous and local communities.

As the two-week summit gets under way, the UN has warned that based on countries’ latest climate action plans, there is currently no credible pathway to meet the 1.5C goal intended to avoid the worst impact of global warming.

Global temperatures have risen 1.1C and are heading towards 1.5C, according to the UN’s climate scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

If temperatures rise 1.7 to 1.8C above 1850s levels, the IPCC estimates that half the word’s population could be exposed to life-threatening heat and humidity.

Rich countries are also falling short in providing the finance needed to help developing nations adapt to a changing climate and develop cleanly, the UN warned.

Labour’s Ed Miliband criticised Mr Sunak’s ability to lead the UK on climate change as he “had to be dragged kicking and screaming” to go to the summit.

The shadow climate change secretary said: “Rishi Sunak is the man who had to be dragged kicking and screaming to go to COP, so it’s simply implausible for him to claim the mantle of climate leadership.

“Rishi Sunak is a fossil fuel prime minister in a renewable age.”

Labour has made a pledge to boost green industries, planning a £1bn project to invest in net zero jobs across the Humber and Teesside, Merseyside, Grangemouth and South Wales.

The plans, unveiled as part of Labour’s commitment to end the use of fossil fuels in the UK by 2030, aim to cut energy bills for good, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

By BBC News…

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