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Rishi Sunak warns 'more must be done' after COP27 deal


Rishi Sunak warned that ‘more needs to be done’ today to tackle climate change following a last-minute deal at the COP27 summit.

The prime minister warned of “complacency” amid criticism that not enough progress had been made at the Egypt meeting.

Meanwhile, British envoy Alok Sharma pointed to major holes in the latest agreement, saying prospects of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees are on “life support”.

The UN meeting controversially sealed a pact on a “loss and damage” mechanism, which would see developing countries pay billions to states affected by extreme weather and rising sea levels.

That move has sparked anger among Tories who reject the idea that the UK should make ‘reparations’ for historic carbon emissions.

Protests against fossil fuels outside the COP27 summit in Egypt

Campaigners have demanded a 'loss and damage fund' at the COP27 summit in Egypt

Campaigners have demanded a ‘loss and damage fund’ at the COP27 summit in Egypt

Rishi Sunak said

Rishi Sunak said “more needs to be done” after the deal was closed overnight in Egypt

Backlash over ‘loss and damage’ climate change fund

Ministers are bracing for a backlash today after the COP27 summit agreed on a ‘loss and damage’ fund to compensate countries suffering from climate change.

The mechanism was signed in principle at the UN meeting in Egypt in the early morning hours, but Tories have already lashed out at the idea of ​​the UK paying ‘reparations’.

Developed countries have long resisted calls for payments to account for rising sea levels and extreme weather events caused by historic carbon emissions.

They have insisted that funding should be aimed at helping the population to adapt to climate change.

However, later industrialized states from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific have argued that they are suffering the consequences without contributing to the problems.

It is not clear which countries will receive funding, how much and who will contribute – although it is not believed that China will put in the pot.

Mr Sunak attended the COP27 earlier this month, although he originally shunned the event.

He said in a brief statement today: “I welcome the progress made at Cop27, but there is no time for complacency.

‘Keeping the 1.5 degrees idea alive is essential for the future of our planet.

“More needs to be done.”

The slogan ‘Keep 1.5 alive’ dominated discussions at the Glasgow summit last year, when Mr Sharma, President of Cop26, and the UK delegation led efforts to limit global warming.

Speaking at the summit’s closing plenary session, Mr Sharma said progress on loss and damage is ‘historic’, but warned that this was not a time for ‘unreserved celebration’.

“Many of us have come here to secure the results we achieved in Glasgow and to go even further,” he said.

“In our efforts to do that, we’ve had a series of very challenging conversations over the past few days.

Indeed, those of us who have come to Egypt to keep 1.5 degrees alive and to respect what each of us agreed in Glasgow have had to fight relentlessly to stay on the line.

“We’ve had to fight to build on one of Glasgow’s most important achievements.”

Mr Sharma’s speech, delivered after what seemed fraught and last-minute attempts to reach a consensus, pointed out the gaps in the agreement.

‘Together with many parties, we have proposed a number of measures that would have contributed to this. Emissions peaking before 2025, as science tells us, is necessary.

‘Not in this text.

‘Clear follow-up of the phase-out of coal. Not in this text.

A clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels. Not in this text.

“And the energy text, toned down, in the final minutes.”

He added: ‘Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse was weak at 1.5 degrees.

“Unfortunately, it remains on life support.

“And we all need to look in the mirror and consider whether we’ve fully met that challenge over the past two weeks.”

The 1.5°C target stems from the Paris Agreement, the global treaty on climate change negotiated in 2015.

That’s the level at which low-lying islands think their survival is under threat.

Governments and experts will now think carefully about what the deal means in the fight against climate change.

The Labor Party’s Ed Miliband accused the countries of “turning the tide” in Egypt, while criticizing Mr Sunak’s “complete absence” of leadership at the summit.

Mr Sunak (pictured yesterday in Kiev) attended COP27 earlier this month, although he originally avoided the event

Mr Sunak (pictured yesterday in Kiev) attended COP27 earlier this month, although he originally avoided the event

The shadow secretary for climate change said: ‘We are again hearing the unmistakable sound of the can being kicked in the road for the necessary action to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees – and as a result it is now at great risk .

“Too many countries were clearly resistant to what is needed, including in the field of fossil fuels.”

Lord Deben, chair of the Climate Change Committee, said that while the 1.5C target is not a ‘lost cause’, urgent action is needed.

He told BBC Radio 4’s World this Weekend programme: ‘It’s better than I feared because the Egyptians had a really hard time getting this right.

‘But it is still not nearly as good as it takes to keep the rising temperature below 1.5°C.’

‘I don’t think 1.5 degrees is a lost cause. I don’t think we can allow it to be a lost cause.’

Katie White, executive director of advocacy and campaigning at WWF, said: “While a loss and damage financing deal is a positive step, it risks becoming a down payment on disaster unless emissions are urgently cut in line with the 1.5 C objective.”