Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will not attend the U.N. COP27 climate summit

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The British Prime Minister has decided not to attend next month the U.N. climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. He motivated by the need to focus on domestic priorities. “We remain committed to net zero and to leading international and domestic action to tackle climate change. The U.K. is forging ahead of many other countries on net zero,” a spokeswoman said. The U.K., which held the COP26 presidency, will continue to “make sure that all countries are making progress on the historic commitments they made” at last year’s conference in Glasgow, the spokesperson added. The UK hosted last year’s meeting in Glasgow, retaining the COP presidency.

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Alok Sharma, the president for COP26, and some ministers, will attend the climate summit on behalf of the U.K. Sunak makes preparations for the government’s long-awaited debt-cutting plan. The opposition Labour party accused the government of a “massive failure of climate leadership”. The Liberal Democrats also criticised the decision, with leader Sir Ed Davey saying it “flies in the face of the UK’s proud tradition of leading the world in our response to the climate change”. Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK, said the move suggests Mr Sunak does not take climate change “seriously enough”.