PM to call for ‘era of action’ at COP28 climate summit

The Prime Minister will stress the need for ambitious, innovative and pragmatic climate action to meet the challenge of rising global temperatures at the COP28 Summit in the United Arab Emirates today [Friday 1st Dec]

  • Prime Minister will announce £1.6 billion in UK funding for climate projects as he arrives for the first day of COP28
  • UK will back efforts to end deforestation and speed up the transition to renewable energy as part of a solutions-focused approach to tackling climate change
  • Rishi Sunak will also use his visit for high level talks on the crisis in Gaza and de-escalation in the wider Middle East

The Prime Minister will stress the need for ambitious, innovative and pragmatic climate action to meet the challenge of rising global temperatures at the COP28 Summit in the United Arab Emirates today [Friday 1st Dec].

Attending the first day of the World Leaders Summit at COP, the Prime Minister will announce major funding for effective projects aimed at stopping and reversing deforestation, protecting the natural environment, and accelerating the global transition to clean and renewable energy. The projects will support urgent efforts to get the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees on track. 

He will also set out his ambition to turbocharge the role of the private sector, given the UK’s role as the pre-eminent global centre for green finance. Overall, the UK Government will commit £1.6 billion for international climate finance (ICF) projects over the course of COP28 – delivering on our commitment to spend £11.6 billion of ICF over five years and taking it further with new funding.

Today’s announcements build on the UK’s leading record at home, with the fastest decarbonisation in the G7 and record investment in renewables, and help to deliver on the legacy of the successful COP26 Summit in Glasgow.

The Prime Minister will also use his travel to the Middle East to push for progress on alleviating the humanitarian crisis on Gaza and finding a long-term solution to the crisis. In talks with key regional and international leaders, he will discuss efforts to free remaining hostages and ensure Hamas can never again launch terror attacks from Gaza, as well as concrete proposals to step up the delivery of aid and secure a lasting peace for both Palestinians and Israelis.

Ahead of COP28, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“The world made ambitious pledges at previous COP summits to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. But the time for pledges is now over – this is the era for action. 

“We know that the technologies and innovations we need to protect the planet are at our fingertips, from the mighty offshore wind farms powering the UK to the solar energy transforming electricity in Africa.

“The transition to net zero should make us all safer and better off. It must benefit, not burden ordinary families. The UK has led the way in taking pragmatic, long-term decisions at home – and at COP28 we will lead international efforts to protect the world’s forests, turbocharge renewable energy and leverage the full weight of private finance.” 

The UK put nature at the heart of climate summits for the first time at COP26, securing the agreement of the landmark ‘Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use’ which saw more than 140 countries commit to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. And this week, we took further action at home to protect the UK’s rich natural heritage, announcing 34 new landscape recovery projects, new community forests and funding to help more children get outdoors and into the great British countryside. 

New funding announced by the Prime Minister today builds on that record, providing up to £500 million for the ‘Investment in Forests and Sustainable Land Use’ programme which works with the private sector to tackle the causes of deforestation and increase investment in sustainable forest and land management. We expect the programme to mobilise £2 billion in private investment, directly benefit small farmers and poor rural communities, and restore vital forests across 10m hectares. A further £30 million will also be provided to the REDD Early Movers programme, which provides results-based payments to key forest countries to reduce deforestation and reinvest the money into indigenous and local communities. 

The UK will also commit £316 million for exciting energy innovation projects around the world, to help speed up the global transition to renewables. The funding includes up to £185 million from the Ayrton Fund for a planned UK-led Climate Innovation Pull Facility, which will use market incentives to signal demand for a particular innovation in developing countries and rapidly advance new green technology. There will also be £40 million from the Ayrton Fund via the Energy Catalyst for 64 clean energy projects across Africa, South Asia and the Indo-Pacific, investing in partnerships which are developing critical technologies like energy storage, smart grids and next-generation solar.

British International Investment - the UK’s development finance institution - will invest £44 million in climate projects in Africa and Asia. The funding includes an £8 million investment into Planet Solar in Sierra Leone and £1.7 million for Sun Culture in Kenya, respectively using solar power to increase Sierra Leone’s power supply by 30% and supporting thousands of smallholder farms in Kenya with irrigation. £4.1 million will go towards the delivery of 100 electric buses in Kenya and £5.7 million will be invested into the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund, which aims to prevent 5 million tonnes of plastic pollution from entering the environment.

The UK will also contribute up to £60 million of funding for loss and damage, including up to £40 million for a new fund announced by the COP Presidency yesterday [Thursday] and a further £20 million for funding arrangements, including for early warning systems and disaster risk finance.  The funding will help address the real and growing impact of climate change on countries, including many developing and small island states – from rising seas to flooding and desertification. It is intended to kickstart efforts to leverage broader sources of finance to enable the fund to scale.

Further announcements will be made by UK ministers throughout COP28, bringing the total UK ICF commitment for the Summit to more than £1.6 billion. Of that, £887.8 million - including £465 million for forests - is new funding, outside of the £11.6 billion ICF spending target agreed for 2021/22 - 2025/26. 

The Prime Minister is expected to attend the Opening Ceremony at COP28, which will be addressed by His Majesty The King, as well as events on climate finance, climate adaptation and a new Just Energy TransitionPartnership with Vietnam. He will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with world leaders.

Further information: 

  • Up to £185m Climate Innovation Pull Facility (CIPF), first-of-a-kind UK-led ICF facility that will pioneer the use of pull incentives for climate mitigation solutions in developing countries.
  • £40m worth of Ayrton Fund support to 64 clean energy innovation projects across Africa, South Asia and the Indo-Pacific, in critical technology areas such as energy storage, smart green grids, next generation solar and more. 
  • A £40m extension to the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) platform, funding R&D on energy access in low income countries.
  • A £36m increase for the Market Accelerator for Green Construction, driving uptake of green construction practices and accelerating investments in energy efficient buildings in over 20 emerging and developing economies.
  • A £15m extension to the Modern Energy Cooking Services (MECS) programme, enabling demonstrators of e-Cooking innovations in countries currently relying on firewood and charcoal.

Full list of BII investments [in USD]:

  • A $9.8m investment into Planet Solar, Sierra Leone’s first large-scale independent solar power producer.   The project will increase the country’s power supply by approximately 30%. Currently only 23% of the population in Sierra Leone have access to electricity.
  • $25m commitment to GEF South Asia Growth Fund III, investing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste generation as well as boost water use-efficiency and sustainable food production. Following BII’s investment, the fund is aiming to raise $400m to support climate goals across the region. 
  • A $2.1m investment into Sun Culture in Kenya to provide 9,000 more smallholder farmers with solar-powered irrigation systems to improve their climate resilience and incomes.
  • A $6m investment into Wavemaker Impact (WMI) a Fund investing in high-impact food and agriculture start-ups that have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in South East Asia.
  • A $5m investment into BasiGo for delivery of 100 Electric Buses in Kenya. Funding will be used to scale local assembly of electric buses in Kenya, establishing a new electric vehicle manufacturing sector.
  • A $7m investment into Circulate Capital Disrupt Fund, investing in circular economy with a focus on plastic waste recycling in South and South East Asia, with the aim of preventing 5 million tonnes of plastic pollution from entering the environment.

Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street