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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
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net zero

'I always knew Sunak was smart': Donald Trump praises British PM for rollback on climate targets

Sunak announced plans to water down environmental commitments this week.

FORMER US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has given his backing to a plan by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to water down a number of environmental commitments in the UK.

Sunak announced the proposal earlier this week, when he signalled that he would weaken a plan to phase out gas boilers from 2035 and delay a proposed ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars – currently due for 2030 – by five years.

The idea was widely criticised by climate campaigners, scientists, businesses in the UK and senior politicians in Ireland.

However, it has found favour across the Atlantic from Donald Trump, the current front-runner for the Republican Party’s 2024 nomination for the US presidency.

“Prime Minister Sunak of the United Kingdom has very substantially rolled back the ridiculous ‘climate mandates’ that the United States is pushing on everyone, especially itself,” Trump said on his social media platform Truth Social.

“I always knew Sunak was smart, that he wasn’t going to destroy and bankrupt his nation for fake climate alarmists that don’t have a clue.”

Scientific studies published over the past number of decades have overwhelmingly confirmed the existence of climate change as a result of human activity.

Under the legally binding Paris Agreement, countries including the UK have pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 in order to prevent global temperatures from rising to 2 degrees or more above pre-industrial levels.

Their progress by 2030 is seen as a key stage in evaluating how countries are faring on that journey.

Sunak has maintained that the UK is still committed to reaching net-zero by 2050, despite the changes he proposed this week.

Earlier today, Cabinet minister Grant Shapps told the BBC that 2035 was “always the end date for the sale of petrol and diesel cars” because hybrid-powered vehicles were allowed to be on sale to that date.

The original plan had meant new cars powered only by petrol or diesel would have been banned by 2030, but that has now slipped to 2035.

- Contains reporting from the Press Association.

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