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UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he’ll attend the United Nations climate change talks in Egypt next week, reversing his previous decision not to attend. 

“There is no long-term prosperity without action on climate change," Sunak wrote in a Tweet on Wednesday that confirmed his attendance at the Nov. 6-18 summit, known as COP 27.

It’s an about-turn from the premier’s stance last week, when he said he needed to focus on the “depressing domestic challenges we have with the economy." That provoked criticism from Alok Sharma, the minister in Sunak’s own government who served as president of the previous COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland. He told the Sunday Times he was “disappointed" the premier wasn’t going to Egypt, and argued it would promote engagement with other world leaders on climate issues.

Former premier Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that he would attend the summit, ratcheting up the pressure on Sunak to change his mind. 

Johnson made climate change a focal point of his tenure, but his replacement in Downing Street, Liz Truss, was less committed to the cause and became embroiled in a row with King Charles III after her administration advised the famously environmentalist monarch not to go to the summit. That advice to the King remains, Sunak’s office has said. 

Questions have been asked in the past about Sunak’s commitment to combating global warming, not least when he cut taxes on fuel and flying just days before COP26. While it’s not unusual for a head of government to miss the UN summit, there’s additional impetus for the British premier to go because the UK is handing over the presidency of the talks to Egypt.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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