As published on: cityam.com, Friday 1 December, 2023.
Labour would boost global investment by making Britain the green finance capital of the world, Sir Keir Starmer has said.
The Labour leader, who is set to meet major global investors at COP28 in Dubai, said his administration would mobilise private finance to take on the challenges of net zero and 1.5C.
Starmer hailed the City of London’s role in addressing global environment issues, as he vowed Labour would “grab with both hands” the chance to “set the green finance agenda”.
He said: “Britain’s financial services are a national asset, with world leading expertise.
“There’s an enormous opportunity in setting the agenda on green finance; Labour will partner with business to grab it with both hands.”
It comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “not in hock to ideological zealots” over climate change as he prepared to head to the COP28 international summit.
Sunak called for an “era of action” and announced £1.6bn in UK funding to meet climate challenges, and is also expected to use the COP28 summit to continue talks on the Israel-Gaza crisis.
Ahead of the summit, he appeared to single out China for a lack of progress on climate change, with his official spokesman stating “all countries and that includes China obviously must take action”.
The UK makes up just one per cent of global emissions, but the investments of firms and financial institutions in the Square Mile account for approximately 15 per cent of global emissions, Labour said.
Firms including BT, Tesco and Aviva wrote to the government ahead of COP28 calling for net zero transition plans to be a mandatory requirement for large companies.
The opposition leader is expected to meet with investors hosted by a global bank at Expo city in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he will outline his green finance plans.
Starmer and shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband want to mobilise private finance to back action on green goals by requiring financial institutions and FTSE 100 firms to publish their carbon footprints and adopt credible 1.5C-aligned transition plans.
The Labour leader also took a swing at Sunak’s apparent recent rollback of Britain’s net zero strategy, including pushing a ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars to 2035 from 2030.
“For too long we’ve had a UK government sending the wrong signals when it comes to net zero,” he said.
“While the Conservatives appease their party and sow political division, my Labour government will harness it in the national interest, to turbocharge growth.”
Ahead of COP28, Sunak said: “The world made ambitious pledges at previous summits to limit global warming to 1.5C. But the time for pledges is now over – this is the era for action.
“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.”