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Politics latest news: Sunak insists UK can ‘stand tall’ on climate leadership after Lord

Rishi Sunak has insisted the UK can “stand tall” at the Cop28 conference as it remains a “leader” on tackling climate change as he hit back at criticism from Lord Goldsmith. 

The Prime Minister’s attendance at the summit in Dubai today comes after he scaled back a host of pledges designed to help the UK reach net zero emissions by 2050. He has also vowed to “max out” the UK’s oil and gas reserves by granting new North Sea drilling licences.

Lord Goldsmith, who resigned as environment minister earlier this year accusing Mr Sunak of being “uninterested” in green issues, told Sky News: “There’s no doubt our standing has diminished considerably in recent months.”

But asked what he would say to people accusing him of not being serious about climate action, Mr Sunak told journalists on his plane: “What I’d say first and foremost is we’ve got a better track record than any other major economy in decarbonising. Those are the facts. We look at the record, we’ve decarbonised 48 per cent, compared to France at 22, the US flat, China up. So we can stand tall when we walk around [on Friday]. Not only that, our forward targets for 2030 are more ambitious than any other major economy.

“Look, any which way I look at it, we are a leader on this issue. We have been, we’re continuing to do so. So I will walk around very proudly [on Friday] championing the UK’s achievements in this space. And I’m actually excited to focus on the £1.6bn of climate finance we’re announcing in the areas of forest and fuel and finance to help capitalise more positive change elsewhere.”

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