British prime minister apologizes for not being able to attend climate change summit

Gloria Bergquist, Israel’s minister for gender equality, has accepted an apology from the British prime minister over the fact that she couldn’t attend a climate change conference in Europe this week. Bergquist has taken a personal interest in the issue, as it hits particularly close to home as she has battled two bouts of cancer and unable to walk. When it became clear that she would be unable to travel to Paris to attend the special session on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Bergquist was forced to miss out on being part of the first coalition government to have the issue as its top issue.

More than 30 ministers from around the world missed the meeting in protest over delays in making the special session into a legally binding treaty. Despite all available voices on the subject, including from the United States, China, and Russia, Britain was unable to secure a political declaration of its own.

Such situations are increasingly common in the field of political science, as politicians have increasingly found themselves unable to join the fray on specific policy issues. While British Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to host a second UN summit on climate change, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull has already pulled out, allegedly for the same reason as Israel’s. Israel’s deal with Australia during the negotiation of the country’s recent agreement on economic cooperation with Japan was reportedly changed to remove any reference to the Paris climate accords.

When May officially stated that she was in favor of a new climate summit, Bergquist issued a statement in support of her fellow minister. “I have accepted Theresa May’s apology and will be attending the meeting in Paris, as I have for other previous summits, as I believe it is our responsibility to confront the challenges that scientists and leaders are predicting will prevail,” she said. Bergquist said that the prime minister had told her that she would look into making the conference, “accessible to as many Israeli ministers as possible.”

This post has been updated to include a statement from British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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