Beautiful Virgin Islands

Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

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.


Related Articles

Beautiful Virgin Islands
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
BVI Freedom Song
What is ChatGPT?
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins - Anthony Brown w FBCG Combined Choir
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
'Stand by Me' performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
National Anthem of the British Virgin Islands - Oh, Beautiful Virgin
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Hello Dolly
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
for KING & COUNTRY - Amen (Reborn) [feat. Lecrae & The WRLDFMS Tony Wi
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up
China's first population drop in six decades
Yes He Can
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
The Lord's Prayer
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Ray Charles And The Voices Of Jubilaton, Oh, Happy Day
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Ramblin' Rose
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Protoje - Who Knows ft. Chronixx
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Pressure - Virgin Islands Nice
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Phil Wickham - House Of The Lord
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
My God Is Real (Yes, God Is Real)
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
The Lion King Circle of Life by LEBO M. — LIVE at the HAVASI Symphonic
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Kanye West Sunday Service - hallelujah, salvation, and glory
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Jonathan Nelson - I Believe (Island Medley
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
From The Virgin Islands Sqad Up
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
Common, John Legend - Glory
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell - If I Ain't Got You
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day