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King Charles advised to abandon Cop27 plans by Liz Truss

The UK prime minister has reportedly raised objections to King Charles attending Cop27 in Egypt next month. Last year in Glasgow, he called for world leaders to adopt a ‘war-like footing’ on the threat of climate change.

Having hosted Cop26 in Glasgow last year, it appears the UK could already be tempering expectations on climate action for the next summit.

News broke at the beginning of the week that King Charles III isn’t likely to attend Cop27 in Egypt next month. The ardent environmentalist made a key appearance at the last conference in Glasgow, but has reportedly been advised not to attend this time around.

According to the Sunday Times, UK prime minister Liz Truss objected to the idea of Charles going during an audience at Buckingham Palace in September. A source (cited by The Guardian) claimed the monarch was ‘personally disappointed’ to miss out and was ‘all lined up to go’ with inspiring material.

A spokesperson for Number 10 said: ‘We do not comment on meetings between the prime minister and the King.’

While his abstinence could merely be precautionary, given this would be Charles’ first overseas appearance since his inauguration, some critics are worried that this decision may already hint at an underwhelming conference for the UK – a nation apparently keen to lead wide-scale transitions to renewable energy.

Since Liz Truss succeeded Boris Johnson, environmentalists have been alarmed by her desire to grow the economy at seemingly any cost.

Only today Truss’ party conference speech was disrupted by Greenpeace activists who lamented the prime minister’s decision to reverse the fracking ban. They were quickly removed and closely followed by a gaggle of journalists.

We recently wrote a story discussing the prime minister’s worrying early actions in depth, and questioned whether a sense of climate nihilism is now on the cards for the UK. These trepidations have only been worsened with the news that Truss objected to Charles attending next month’s summit.

Strictly speaking, Truss has no credit in the bank with environmentalists and she isn’t getting the benefit of the doubt here.

Nevertheless, it sounds as though Charles still has options to address world leaders in Egypt next month, should he wish to do so – presumably through pre-recorded videos. This remains ‘under active discussion’ and we expect to have some clarity on the situation soon.

It’s safe to assume, given Charles’ zealous support of environmental causes over several decades, that he will want to leave his mark on the conference.

He delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of Cop26 and during the Jubilee celebrations of June, highlighting the need for unprecedented levels of action against climate change.

Given the obvious conflict of interests in the UK at the moment, having King Charles address the summit feels not only necessary, but important. We need a unified front against climate change as we approach 2030 deadlines, and Cop27 can’t feel like just another rebuke of failures.

 

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