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CAFOD decries UK government U-turn on green policies

20 September 2023

The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has announced the government will backtrack on essential steps to fight the climate crisis.

Speaking on BBC World News, CAFOD’s Head of Advocacy, Neil Thorns, said “the UK is leaving its international reputation in tatters”.

"A total dereliction of duty"

The BBC invited CAFOD to comment on how the government’s U-turn would affect the world’s most vulnerable communities. Speaking later, Neil Thorns added:

“The Prime Minister has today turned his back on the UK’s commitment to fighting climate change. If he wants a new politics and honesty, then his words didn’t match his actions.

"He needs to tell the UK public clear scientific facts about the urgency of the situation, make genuinely long-term decisions based on the needs of the poorest people rather than his politics, and he needs to do it fairly, by taxing polluters and using the funds raised to support the poorest communities overseas and in the UK.

“What we saw was a total dereliction of duty. We need real leadership, not the rolling back of policies. If the eighth-highest historic emitter on the planet reneges on its own climate action, how can the UK ask developing countries to decarbonise their economies with a straight face? Within touching distance of COP28, and with the Prime Minister pledging to attend, the UK has signalled to the world that it’s just not serious.“

UK - Southwark - Climate campaigners at COP27 march

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The UK should be demonstrating leadership on the world stage

Neil Thorns, CAFOD Head of Advocacy

Climate change is already having a devastating effect

In East Africa we’ve seen the worst drought in over 40 years. Meanwhile families in Pakistan have had their lives swept away by flooding. Around the world, 3.3 billion people are living in areas which are highly vulnerable to climate change.

“The UK should be demonstrating leadership on the world stage. Countries who caused this mess need to take responsibility,” said Neil Thorns.

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