UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today announced a new £11bn investment in the UK’s largest offshore wind project and a string of international climate financing commitments, as he once again sought to defend his government’s record on climate action.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of his speech to the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, Sunak announced a new deal between UAE green investment firm Masdar and European energy giant RWE that is expected to result in up to £11bn of investment in the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank.
“This is a huge boost for UK renewables, creating more jobs, helping to power three million homes and increasing our energy security,” he said.
Sunak also firmly defended his recent adjustments to the UK’s net zero strategy, which includes plans to “max out” the UK’s oil and gas reserves by issuing new North Sea drilling licences. When questioned about this decision, he maintained that it had not been a topic of discussion at the summit.
“Honestly, not a single leader I’ve spoken to today has raised this issue,” Sunak asserted. “And do you know why? Because most of their targets are less ambitious than the UK’s.”
He emphasised, “You won’t find another major economy with a more ambitious emissions reduction target for 2030 than the UK.”
“The other bit of good news I can give you is we’re on track to deliver all these targets. We’ve already had carbon budgets that we’ve met and we’re on track to meet the next one as well, and with all the changes that I made earlier we are still on track to meet all of those emissions targets that I’ve just set out.
“So that’s my point, we can meet targets that are already more ambitious than anyone else’s but we can do so in a more pragmatic way that saves families, five, 10, 15 thousand pounds.”
In a separate address, King Charles issued a stark warning about the dangers of climate change. He urged world leaders to take urgent action to address the crisis, saying that “the hope of the world” rests on the climate talks taking place in Dubai.
“When we see the news that this last Northern Hemisphere summer, for instance, was the warmest global average temperature on record, we need to pause to process what this actually means: we are taking the natural world outside balanced norms and limits, and into dangerous, uncharted territory,” he said.
“Unless we rapidly repair and restore nature’s economy, based on harmony and balance, which is our ultimate sustainer, our own economy and survivability will be imperilled.”
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