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Keir Starmer details ‘clean power alliance’ at Cop28

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer walks with shadow secretary of state for energy security and net zero Ed Miliband at Cop28 (Chris Jackson/PA)
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer walks with shadow secretary of state for energy security and net zero Ed Miliband at Cop28 (Chris Jackson/PA)

Sir Keir Starmer set out how the UK would lead a “clean power alliance” to accelerate the energy transition as he attended the Cop28 climate talks in Dubai.

The Labour leader said his participation at the summit was a “statement of intent” that a government with him at the helm would “play its full part” on the global stage through “leading by example”.

He accused Rishi Sunak of “shrinking” from such responsibility and risking global relationships to make “divisive political points”.

Sir Keir, who polls suggest is on track to snatch the keys to No 10 at the next general election, also used his trip to the annual climate gathering to meet with world leaders including the King of Jordan and the premiers of Iceland, Lebanon and Barbados.

He detailed plans for an alliance of countries at the forefront of climate ambition that will push down costs and strengthen supply chains to ultimately bring down energy bills at home.

A global “buyer’s club” would see nations cooperating on investment and information sharing on decarbonisation.

The network would speed up access to vital materials, such as Cobalt, Lithium, and Nickel, and push others to match their ambition.

He first called for a “clean power alliance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, describing it as a “reverse Opec”.

Cop28 summit
Sir Keir Starmer holds a media briefing at Cop28 in Dubai (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir said: “By building a global Clean Power Alliance, a Labour government will build strong partnerships abroad to boost prosperity at home.

“While the Conservatives risk global relationships to make divisive political points, Labour know they’re a path to lower bills for working people in Britain.

“My Labour government will be a serious, responsible partner, in the national interest. Every decision I take will be to cut bills for families, boost energy independence, and protect our country for future generations.”

Prime Minister Mr Sunak had earlier accused Sir Keir of “just trying to catch up” with plans to make Britain the world’s green finance capital.

In response, the Opposition leader told reporters in Dubai: “I think that an event like this is an opportunity for a Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to show a seriousness, to show leadership, to want to lead on the global stage on issues which are really important to our country…

“For the Prime Minister to reduce this down in the way that he does, the smallness of his politics is becoming a feature of his politics. We saw it with the Greek Prime Minister. We saw it with some of the lines that he was putting out about eco zealots as he got on the plane to come here.”

Sir Keir was referring to Mr Sunak’s last-minute cancellation of a planned meeting with his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis after accusing him of grandstanding about the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, and the Prime Minister saying he was “not in hock to ideological zealots” over climate change.

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband said Mr Sunak’s rollback in September on a host of climate pledges amounted to an attempt to create a culture war, which “hasn’t worked for him”.

Mr Miliband added: “That’s because he’s got the British people wrong. They don’t want an imported US-style culture war on climate. They want a government that will tackle the climate crisis and the cost-of-living crisis together.

“I think he’s just misjudged the public mood.”

In his meeting with the King of Jordan, Sir Keir discussed the Israel-Hamas war after fighting resumed in Gaza.

He renewed calls for a further “cessation of hostilities” and spoke of the “unacceptable rise in settler violence towards Palestinians” on the West Bank, Labour said.