A “massive” deal has been struck between energy firms RWE and Masdar to invest up to £11bn in the UK’s Dogger Bank wind farm, Rishi Sunak has said.
The Prime Minister said the agreement included the funding commitment between the UAE-state owned and German-based renewable energy firms in what will be the world’s biggest wind farm.
Speaking at a press conference at COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sunak told reporters: “This is a huge boost for UK renewables, creating more jobs, helping to power three million homes and increasing energy security.”
He also said the “world needs to do more to tackle climate change” and called on “major emitters to dramatically accelerate delivery” of their net zero transitions.
The UK is “leading the charge.. decarbonising faster than any other major economy”, Sunak argued, but in a fresh example of his shift towards a softer approach to environmental goals, he stressed: “We won’t tackle climate change unless we take people with us.”
And he added: “Climate politics is close to breaking point. We’ll meet targets but we’ll do it in a more pragmatic way.”
It comes after the Prime Minister confirmed he would announce £1.6bn for international climate finance, supporting schemes to halt deforestation and accelerate renewable energy.
However, he has faced criticism for scaling back various pledges to help the UK reach net zero by 2050 and vowed to “max out” oil and gas reserves via North Sea drilling licences.
Sunak arrived in Dubai this morning, where he joined other world leaders for a ‘family photograph’ at the Expo City venue, before UK monarch King Charles opened the summit.
The Prime Minister has met with other heads of state during his hours on the ground in the UAE, including bilaterals with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar.
Issues including the Israel-Gaza crisis, trade and defence were discussed, and Sunak also held so-called ‘brush by’ meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
It came as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy and shadow energy minister David Miliband were also in Dubai for COP28 and held meetings with top firms and investors, in a bid to link the green agenda to their plans for business.
During his own press huddle with reporters, Starmer criticised Sunak, after the Prime Minister accused Labour of “catching up” when it came to green finance priorities.
“I think that an event like this is an opportunity for a prime minister of the United Kingdom to show seriousness, to show leadership, to want to lead on the global stage on issues which are really important to our country,” the Labour leader said.
“For the Prime Minister to reduce this down in the way he does, the smallness of his politics is becoming a feature of his politics… this is not something to shrink from, to retreat from.”
He added: “Among the reasons we’re here is a statement of intent to say if there’s an incoming Labour government things will be done differently.
“We will rise to the international stage, not retreat from it.”