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Renewable Vibes > News > Blog > The climate watchdog in the UK criticizes Sunak for conveying conflicting messages regarding climate ambition.

The climate watchdog in the UK criticizes Sunak for conveying conflicting messages regarding climate ambition.

Britain’s top climate change advisory body, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), has accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of sending mixed signals and creating a perception of slowing UK climate ambition. The CCC stated that the country’s image as a leader in climate action has suffered since Sunak’s speech in September, where he halted several net-zero initiatives. The Conservative government has also approved a new coal mine and licensed new oil and gas production, while delaying the plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by five years.

The committee emphasized that the international perception of the UK’s climate ambition has been negatively impacted by these mixed messages and recent decisions. As an advisory body on government policy for achieving Britain’s net zero aims, the CCC released its latest report reviewing progress at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai. The report highlights the concern that Sunak’s speech and the government’s decisions have contributed to a perception of slowing climate ambition by the international community.

The CCC stressed the importance of strong and consistent domestic policy and communications on climate to robustly advocate for high climate ambition internationally. The report comes after the resignation of Chris Stark as CCC head, who criticized Sunak’s environmental policies and referred to the country’s 2050 net-zero target as “wishful thinking.” Former energy minister Chris Skidmore also resigned in opposition to Sunak’s decision to grant new oil and gas drilling licenses.

Sunak, however, defended the policies, stating that the UK is pursuing a pragmatic approach to achieving net-zero. He argued that policies had been imposed without an honest conversation with the country about the requirements to deliver them. Sunak reassured that the government remains committed to the net-zero targets and expressed confidence in achieving them.

The policy shift comes at a time when British voters are facing a cost-of-living crisis, with rising food and housing costs. Some members of Sunak’s ruling Conservatives have raised concerns about the financial cost of reaching net-zero. The main opposition party, Labour, along with environmental campaigners, has criticized Sunak’s policy changes. With an expected general election later this year, Labour is leading in the polls and has made climate action a key issue.

It is clear that the CCC is urging the government to take renewed action and provide a clear and consistent path towards achieving the UK’s climate goals. The international community is closely watching the country’s commitment to climate ambition, and it is essential for the UK to maintain its leadership position on this crucial issue.

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