Judge me on results, not for how long I was at Cop28, pleads Rishi Sunak - after spending just 12 hours at climate talks

1 December 2023, 19:35 | Updated: 5 December 2023, 07:19

Rishi Sunak has said he should not be judged for how long he spent at Cop28
Rishi Sunak has said he should not be judged for how long he spent at Cop28. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Rishi Sunak has said he will not be judged based on how long he spent at Cop28 climate talks as he flies home after just 12 hours.

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The prime minister jetted to the UAE for talks in Dubai, where world leaders are gathering to discuss environmental problems.

But he is already on his way home after spending the day there - despite King Charles and Sir Keir Starmer spending two days at the talks.

While in the Middle East state he announced investment in the world's biggest wind in Dogger Bank, off the coast of eastern England, and £1.6bn for loss and damage suffered by countries hit by the effects of global warming.

"I wouldn't measure our impact here by hours spent, I would measure it by the actual things that we're doing that are making a difference," he insisted.

Read more: King Charles wears tie 'with Greek flags' in pattern as he meets Sunak after row over Elgin Marbles

Sunak announced the world's biggest wind farm will be built in Dogger Bank
Sunak announced the world's biggest wind farm will be built in Dogger Bank. Picture: Alamy

The PM added: "I'm actually very confident that what we've achieved here is significant."

There were concerns that his recent watering down of environmental initiatives in the UK would hamper his green credentials overseas.

His government has handed out new licences for North Sea drilling, pushed back the proposed ban on diesel and petrol cars to 2035 and dropped requirements for energy efficient upgrades in homes.

Read more: 'Hope of the world' rests on Dubai climate summit, King Charles tells Cop28

But Mr Sunak said "not a single leader that I have spoken to has spoken about that" during his trip.

"Do you know why? Because most of their targets are less ambitious than the UK's," he claimed, adding that Britain had decarbonised faster than any other major economy.

Rishi Sunak said he should not be judged for spending just 12 hours at the Cop28 talks
Rishi Sunak said he should not be judged for spending just 12 hours at the Cop28 talks. Picture: Alamy

Mr Sunak will be hoping he made a better impression on world leaders than earlier in the week, when he started a spat with the Greek prime minister over the Elgin Marbles.

And it was noticed that King Charles wore a tie bearing the same pattern as the Greek flag all over it.

Earlier, the King told Cop28 the "hope of the world" rests on their talks.

He said the world still "remains so dreadfully far off track" in uniting to tackle climate change and it was heading to "dangerous, uncharted territory".

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