Rishi Sunak will advocate a ‘global mission’ that would limit temperature rises to 1.5C when he addresses the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt today.
The prime minister is expected to urge world leaders to renew pledges made at last year’s Cop26 in Glasgow, with the UK committing £200million to protect forests and invest in green technologies.
But he faced criticism over the government’s decision to issue more oil and gas licences in the North Sea and its opposition to new onshore wind turbines.
Mr Sunak’s speech comes as an alarming UN report warns that, as 2022 nears an end, the past eight years are on track to be the eight hottest on record.
After a series of climate-related disasters this year, the internationally agreed 1.5C limit for global warming is now ‘barely within reach’, the World Meteorological Organization said.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres described the report as a ‘chronicle of climate chaos’ and called for Cop27 leaders to answer the planet’s ‘distress signal’ with ambitious and credible action.
Mr Sunak – who travelled to the summit after U-turning on a decision not to go – has joined leaders including US president Joe Biden and France’s Emmanuel Macron at Red Sea resort Sharm El-Sheikh.
He will say: ‘The world came together in Glasgow with one last chance to create a plan that would limit temperature rises to 1.5C. Can we summon the collective will to deliver on those promises? I believe we can.
‘By honouring those pledges, we can turn our struggle against climate change into a global mission for new jobs and clean growth and bequeath our children a greener planet and a more prosperous future. That’s a legacy we could be proud of.’
Alok Sharma, who handed over the Cop26 presidency, said in his opening speech there has been ‘some progress in implementing’ the Glasgow commitments. But he said Russia’s war in Ukraine and global food and energy crises ‘compounded climate vulnerabilities’.
Labour’s Ed Miliband, the shadow climate secretary, said Mr Sunak should now drop plans to issue more licences for North Sea exploration and end the opposition to onshore wind.
‘It makes no sense and it makes a complete joke, frankly, of a man who couldn’t decide whether he was going to go to Cop27 and of the idea he’s somehow a leader on clean energy,’ he told Sky News.
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