Weak promises! QT audience member slams Sunak over photo op appearance at COP26 summit

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The programme, hosted by BBC anchor Fiona Bruce, was aired from Eastleigh this week and gave the mic to a man in the audience who was quite pessimistic about the tangible results of COP26. “One of the issues I have is that the politicians making these pledges aren’t backed by anything, they are weak promises,” he said.

“The problem we have is that a lot of leaders are using this as a photo opportunity.

“The Chancellor, for example, with bringing his own green box.

“A few weeks ago with his budget box which was a different colour, he was cutting the tax on domestic flights.

“Domestic flights are the worst possible way we can move around.

“It does not join up the pledges that they are making now.”

Conservative Business Minister Paul Scully admitted, “the optics of people flying to Glasgow are not good.”

However, he said he believes, as an optimist, that COP26 will deliver an outline of the actions to take.

Labour’s Shadow International Trade Secretary Emily Thornberry said she has seen examples of countries making pledges and breaking them before.

“I went to the Copenhagen summit [in 2009], and there was a £100 billion that was supposedly committed by the developed world to the developing world to help them develop in a green way and be able to protect themselves against the effects of climate change,” she remembered.

“We still haven’t seen that money.”

This follows recent reports that Poland and Indonesia, both of whom sent delegates to the UN summit in Glasgow, have already released backtracking statements regarding the pledges they made on coal and deforestation respectively.

Paul Polman, former chief executive officer of Unilever till 2019 and co-founder of Imagine, an organisation aiming to help businesses tackle climate change and global inequality, reminded the audience that countries and private firms have agreed on reviews.

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“We have 90% of the countries making that net-zero commitment and half of the world’s capital making that net-zero commitment too,” he said.

Appearing on the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme down the line in Glasgow, he mentioned that an agreement on a review every two years had been signed.

“The emerging markets are asking for an annual review and I happen to agree with that.

“There are clear dates put in place to see if we can hold people accountable to their commitment.

“If we don’t do that, obviously, we’d have a serious problem.”

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