PM speech at COP28 climate summit: 1 December 2023

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech at the COP28 climate summit 2023

The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP

I’m here at COP28 with two clear messages… 

First, the world needs to do more to tackle climate change.

We’ve made real progress – including at the Glasgow summit…

…but the climate science and mounting evidence of climate-related disasters… 

…show we’re not moving quickly or effectively enough.

So I’m calling on major emitters to dramatically accelerate delivery on what they’ve already promised.  

Everyone can do more.

And let’s be very clear – the UK is leading the charge.

We’re absolutely committed to our Net Zero targets. 

We’ve already decarbonised faster than any other major economy.

Our emissions are down 48 percent since 1990. 

Compared to limited cuts from others.

And a 300 percent increase from China.

We’re also one of the largest climate donors, because we want to help those suffering the impacts of climate change. 

My pledge from September of £1.6 billion for the Green Climate Fund was the UK’s biggest single climate change commitment.

And we’re going further… announcing £1.6 billion today for renewable energy, green innovation and forests…

…delivering on the historic Glasgow deal to end deforestation – because we can’t tackle climate change without nature. 

We’re also leveraging the genius of the City of London to deliver billions more in private finance. 

Again the UK is leading by example… and we need others to step up. 

Because my second message is this… 

As I said in September, we won’t tackle climate change unless we take people with us.

Climate politics is close to breaking point. 

The British people care about the environment.

They know that the costs of inaction are intolerable. 

But they also know that we have choices about how we act. 

So yes we’ll meet our targets…

…but we’ll do it in a more pragmatic way, which doesn’t burden working people. 

We’ve scrapped plans on heat pumps and energy efficiency, which would have cost families thousands of pounds. 

We’ll help people to improve energy efficiency and cut bills – but we won’t force them too. 

We’ll support nature across the UK.

Just this week I announced a huge new effort with 34 landscape recovery projects, a new national park – and more. 

And we’ll harness the opportunities of technology and green industry to deliver net zero in a way that benefits the British people. 

And today I can share more proof on the progress we’re making. 

I’m pleased to announce a new deal between Masdar and RWE…

…which includes a commitment to jointly invest up to £11 billion into the UK’s new windfarm at Dogger Bank – which will be the biggest in the world.  

This is a huge boost for UK renewables… 

…creating more jobs…

…helping to power 3 million homes…

…and increasing our energy security.

And, by the way, this comes just days after we announced £30 billion of investment at our Global Investment Summit… and £21 billion of investment from South Korea. 

We’ve quite frankly never seen a week like it.

In Dubai today, I’ve also had conversations with a range of leaders – including Israel, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan – about the situation in Israel and Gaza. 

Our position is clear and consistent.

We’ve been categorical in our support for Israel’s right to self-defence and to go after the architects of the atrocities of 7th October…

…while stressing Israel’s obligation to act in line with international humanitarian law. 

I strongly welcomed the pause in fighting to get hostages out…

…and we’ve been using the opportunity to get more aid into Gaza. 

The UK has trebled its aid, but still not enough is getting in via Rafah and other crossings. 

So we are actively exploring other routes, including by sea.

The breakdown of the truce today is deeply disappointing, not least because a growing number of hostages were coming home. 

I pay tribute to the role of Qatar in helping facilitate these efforts – and I hope the process can be resumed. 

We want all the hostages released – and in this initial phase all women and children should be freed.  

I’ve said before that the number of civilian casualties and the scale of the suffering has been far too high. 

So the return of hostilities is concerning to us all. 

We’re making it clear that Israel must take maximum care to protect civilian life. 

We’re opposed to anything that would involve the mass displacement of people. 

We need to ensure that there are viable designated areas where safety can be guaranteed. 

And we need to ensure that critical infrastructure like water supplies and hospitals are protected. 

Again, we’ve been consistent on all of this. 

So I support the civilian protection plans outlined yesterday by the US Secretary of State. 

Indeed this has been a central theme in our discussions with regional leaders here, including Israeli President Herzog.

Ultimately we will redouble our efforts create a political horizon in which hostages are freed and security, safety and dignity is assured. 

We will continue to work with our partners to create a lasting peace…

…beginning with practical steps that address the crisis now.

Thank you.

Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street
The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP