COP27: If Sunak won’t go to Egypt, King Charles should

Alok Sharma lost his cabinet role shortly after Rishi Sunak picked up the keys to No 10 Downing Street. It was a shocking action. Sunak could have kept Sharma in place until after COP27. A simple act that would have shown the new prime minister’s commitment to the challenge the world faces as the atmosphere and oceans heat. It would have shown a mark of respect for one of Britain’s greatest champions in tackling climate change. Another simple act would be for the prime minister to attend COP27 for a day to show that Britain is not wavering on its commitments on easing climate change.

The industrial revolution began here in Britain, just up the road from me in Ironbridge. Its achievements are to be celebrated. Its consequences must now be mitigated. We, and the other nations most responsible for greenhouse emissions, must be at the forefront changing the way we work, the way the world works.

This is more a necessary transition than a painful transition. Of course, it costs money up front, but the payback of being ahead on technology change gave us the advantage more than two centuries ago. It should do so again.

The UN has warned this week that we are not going to achieve the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5C .

Liz Truss was widely reported as banning King Charles from attending COP27. And she wasn’t going to go herself. She couldn’t hold her own on the UK stage and would have wilted further on the world stage. She could not have countered criticism of her decision to push ahead with fracking. Sunak has rightly reversed that decision. Fracking creates more political gas than energy gas. Sunak has also spoken against onshore wind farms, wanting offshore energy production. But again, this is too obviously a political decision. Sunak wants the rows over energy production insulated so that he can get on repairing the economy. Not the world economy, which will never be stable until we tackle climate change. He has a UK selfish view. That’s what Sunak did in his cuts to international aid, a lot of which goes to mitigating and coping with the impacts of climate change.

Rishi Sunak is a confident man. He is not the “rabbits in the headlights” Liz Truss. He is not the blustering Boris Johnson. He could stand in the world stage and champion Britain’s leading role in tackling climate change. That is not now going happen.

By not going to CO27, Rishi Sunak has withdrawn our nation from the world stage. But if he thinks he can solve the UK’s problems in isolation, he is on the wrong planet. He is on the wrong planet on climate change too.

Britain once again shrinks as a leading nation on the most pressing issues facing the world. If Rishi Sunak cannot face up to COP27, we should send the King instead. After all, he has a better record on pitching for environment protection than anyone in the current cabinet.

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at He is Thursday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Nonconformistradical 27th Oct '22 - 9:05pm

    Charles would do a much better job of representing our country at COP27 than Sunak.

  • David Evans 28th Oct '22 - 9:54am

    Good idea.

  • It appears the hereditary monarch is busy with Dumfries House and the Repair Shop.

    I’d have no hesitation is askingCaroline Lucas to do it. At least she has been elected to something.

  • Charles and William really need to go – to show continuity in the UK position – the monarch may change in the next couple of decades, but not our commitment…

  • George Thomas 28th Oct '22 - 7:27pm

    The following paragraph is written imagining myself as Tory leader. I accept it’s pretty heartless stuff.

    If I were leader of a political party where members and voters were against immigration and distrustful of asylum project, I would do everything to ensure that as much of the planet as possible could be lived on in comfort. When more and more towns and villages are being flooded year after year, where are these people going to want to move to? When there is drought and desperation, so wars break out, where are these people going to flee to?

    I honestly don’t get why Rishi Sunak is doing something so stupid as to weaken UK’s representation at such a key event. It’s still possible to make positive strides but not by running away or minimising how important the climate crisis is. It will, probably, make this cost-of-living crisis and Brexit look small fry in comparison.

    Don’t know if King Charles III of UK is right person to go, but crikey me it’s such a stupid move for Rishi to duck it.

  • Zachary Adam Barker 28th Oct '22 - 10:36pm

    King Charles III is not a legislator and has no negotiating power. If he was elected that would be otherwise.

    He is also a climate hypocrite whose business record does not reflect his lofty rhetoric.

  • Nonconformistradical 29th Oct '22 - 9:09pm

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