Liz Truss was set to go to at least one day of the fortnight-long event – but the new prime minister’s spokesperson said he had “other pressing domestic commitments”
She pointed to the de-facto budget now delayed until 17 November, when the government will unveil huge spending cuts and tax hikes to ease the economic crisis.
Mr Sunak’s decision not to go comes after his predecessor banned King Charles from attending – a decision that is not expected to be rethought.
A rise of no more than 1.5C is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change, experts warn – but last year’s Cop26 summit in Glasgow failed to achieve the necessary reductions.
Asked if Mr Sunak would travel to Egypt, the spokesperson said: “The prime minister is not expected to attend Cop27. This is due to other pressing domestic commitments, including preparations for the mini-Budget.
“The UK will be represented by other senior ministers, as well as the Cop26 president Alok Sharma, They will be working to ensure that countries continue to make progress on the groundbreaking commitments made at Cop26 in Glasgow.”
The spokesperson denied the decision reflected a lack of commitment to tackling to climate emergency – after previous criticism that Mr Sunak does not prioritise the crisis.
“The government remains absolutely committed to supporting Cop27 and leading international action to tackle climate change,” she insisted.
On Wednesday, the UN framework convention on climate change criticised the failure of most countries to strengthen their CO2-cutting commitments substantially in the last year.
It calculated that the plans submitted so far would lead to a temperature rise of between 2.1C and 2.9C, with the best estimate about 2.5C.
The proposals pointed to an increase in carbon emissions of about 10.6 per cent by 2030 compared with 2010 levels.
Yet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated emissions must fall by about 45 per cent by the decade’s end, to give the world a chance of staying within 1.5C.
“This does not go far enough, fast enough. This is nowhere near the scale of reductions required,” said Simon Stiell, the framework’s executive secretary.