COP27: Campaigners respond to Rishi Sunak’s speech

The Prime Minister has come under fire for his “failure to address the UK’s growing oil and gas industry” in his speech

Big Zero Report 2023

The Prime Minister took to the world stage yesterday, addressing the COP27 in Egypt.

Rishi Sunak unveiled the government’s plan to triple climate adaptation funding to £1.5 billion in 2025.

He said: “The question today is this: can we summon the collective will to deliver them? I believe we can.

“When we began our COP Presidency, just one-third of the global economy was signed up to net zero, today it’s 90%.”

Actions, not words

Commenting on the speech Rishi Sunak is due to deliver at the COP27 summit on Monday, Greenpeace UK’s Head of Politics Rebecca Newsom said: “Rishi Sunak’s opening speech makes the right noises but the hard currency of global climate diplomacy are actions, not words.

“And the UK Government’s actual record is sending a different signal. Not only do the UK’s policies completely fail to match up to its climate targets, but it has also failed to pay more than $300 million (£261m) promised to support developing countries deal with devastating climate impacts.

“If Sunak wants the UK to be a global climate leader, he needs to rule out new oil and gas drilling, invest in home insulation, and back the demands of developing nations for a loss and damage finance facility.”

Tougher action is needed 

Environmental campaigning group Friends of the Earth highlighted that tougher climate action is necessary to help the UK hit net zero.

“Rishi Sunak rightly recognises the enormous threat posed by the mounting climate emergency and the opportunities that tackling it will create, but without much tougher UK action this will count for little.

“His government is still failing to deliver adequate finance to support vulnerable nations to tackle climate change and deal with its impacts, while continuing to help fund a hugely damaging and destabilising gas project in Mozambique, along with new North Sea gas and oil projects, which will only fuel the climate crisis.

“Instead, ministers should lift the barriers to new onshore wind and roll out a nationwide, street-by-street, home insulation programme – with a bigger, bolder windfall tax on fossil fuel firm profits to help pay for it.”

“New oil licensing won’t solve our problems”

Tessa Khan, Director of Uplift, said: “We cannot solve the climate crisis without standing up to the oil and gas industry. Yet, the Prime Minister and this government is doing everything it can to ensure that they keep profiting at our expense.

“If the Prime Minister’s words are to have any meaning, he needs to take three actions immediately: first stop approving new oil and gas fields; second, halt the new licensing round launched by his predecessor; and three, stop handing billions in public subsidies to North Sea oil and gas companies.

“New field approvals and new licensing won’t solve our problems – they won’t make any difference to people’s bills or UK energy security.”

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