TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Saturday, Jun 22, 2024

Britain’s climate leadership unravels under Rishi Sunak

Britain’s climate leadership unravels under Rishi Sunak

UK fails to pay climate finance funds on time, as new prime minister takes over amid turmoil in London.

Britain has failed to pay out more than $300 million it promised to two key climate funds, leaving it facing further international embarrassment in the final days of its stint as the world's official climate action leader.

The missing payments, which were pledged to help poor countries cope with climate change, raised eyebrows in Egypt, which takes over the presidency of U.N. climate talks from the U.K. when the COP27 summit opens on November 6.

“We know that everybody is facing challenges when it comes to finance, but at least deliver on what was pledged,” said Mohamed Nasr, a senior Egyptian diplomat. “And the expectation is that you will have another round of pledges” at COP27.

After months of political vaudeville, the U.K. risked blowing the global goodwill it built up by hosting last year's COP26 talks in exceptionally challenging times, observers warned.

Britain's new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak won’t attend the next edition of the U.N. climate talks in Sharm El-Sheikh, focusing on “pressing domestic commitments” instead. Sunak's office indicated on Monday that he could change his mind, with no final decision having been made.

“Is it essentially squandering that huge investment in U.K. soft power by not following it up?” asked Nick Mabey, the head of the E3G think tank and an independent adviser to the COP26 presidency. "Sunak's number one job is rebuilding U.K. reputation in the world, because we are a laughing stock … The climate is probably the most high-profile role we have. So it's a bad move, not going to COP."

Sunak’s predecessor-but-one Boris Johnson apparently agrees. The Observer reported over the weekend that he planned to go to Egypt. It could be argued that Johnson sees COP26 as a key part of his prime ministerial legacy — albeit one he failed to mention in his valedictory speech on leaving office. It would also draw a strong distinction between his priorities and Sunak’s.

The stay-at-home leader joins King Charles on the bench, after the climate-conscious monarch was reportedly told not to go by Sunak’s predecessor Liz Truss. (She, to complete the circle, was going to attend, before she quit.) Then on Friday, Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said the king's attendance was "up to him," only for the prime minister's office to say, finally, that the king was definitely not going to Egypt.

The hokey cokey continued this past week when COP26 President Alok Sharma was dropped from Sunak’s Cabinet, also ending his job as domestic climate czar. British Climate Minister Graham Stuart also left the Cabinet.

Sharma told the Sunday Times he was “pretty disappointed” by Sunak’s decision. “I think it does send a signal — if the prime minister was to go — about our renewed commitment on this issue,” he said.

The COP26 climate talks in Scotland last year were billed as a coming out party for post-Brexit Global Britain and the conference was seen as a moderate success. It helped to rekindle support for efforts at the highest levels of international leadership. Back when Boris Johnson was prime minister, the U.K. set itself some of the world's toughest climate goals.

Downing Street said the U.K. remained “committed to net zero and to leading international and domestic action to tackle climate change.”

But Labour leader Keir Starmer said: "Britain showing up to work with world leaders is an opportunity to grasp. Not an event to shun." Shadow Climate Secretary Ed Miliband said it was a "massive failure of leadership."

In further bad news for Britain's COP26 legacy this past week, the U.N. delivered its scorecard on a U.K.-brokered deal, under which countries agreed to come up with improved climate plans before COP27.

Major emitters like China failed to heed the demand for new targets that would significantly lower global temperatures. Just 26, mostly small, countries have acquiesced, shaving a tiny fraction off projections for emissions in 2030.

The U.K.'s failure to make its climate finance payments will be acutely embarrassing for British diplomats preparing to head to Egypt.

The U.K. missed its September deadline for a promised $288 million to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the fund confirmed to POLITICO. A $20.6 million pledge to the Adaptation Fund is also still to be paid.

Both funds provide cash for climate projects in the developing world. Board notes from a recent GCF meeting said three projects had been put on hold due to a “lower volume of contributions from contributors than was anticipated.”

Successive hits to the U.K. balance sheet have seen the country cut its overseas aid budget from 0.7 percent of GDP to 0.5 percent. The London government also diverted climate finance cash to buy weapons for Ukraine, a minister said in June.

A spokesperson for the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office did not confirm whether or not the missing pledges had been used for Ukraine. British officials plan to update the GCF board on the U.K.'s payment schedule as soon as possible.

The churn at the top level of government as successive ministers and prime ministers cycled through in recent weeks has made decision-making difficult. FCO officials held talks with the Treasury about the payments under previous administrations, another U.K. official said, but new ministers are now in post and the show must begin all over again.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×