One of the world’s most prominent billionaire backers of green energy has blasted politicians and CEOs for “willful ignorance” over global heating and warned the UK he will pull investments out of the country if it retreats on climate policy.

Andrew Forrest – the Australian mining tycoon whose companies such as Fortescue Future Industries are now huge global investors in renewables, energy storage and green hydrogen projects – said Britain or other countries that backtrack on net zero will see a drain of investment to those with robust green policies.

“If I see this country [the UK] steering itself over a cliff backing fossil fuels, I’m going to start pulling out. I’ll push my investments over to North America,” Forrest told Bloomberg.

“I need to invest where I’ve got proper leadership.”

Forrest, popularly known as 'Twiggy' in Australia, spoke as a backlash mounted at the UK government’s apparent change of heart on net zero, exemplified by a decision to award new oil and gas licences for the North Sea.

The Australian billionaire said recent extreme climate events around the world had provided irrefutable evidence of the scale of the problem, singling out oil company CEOs, banks and politicians among those showing “willful ignorance” over climate.

Forrest claimed there are plenty of resources available to address the challenge.

“The only lack of resource… is the will of chief executives and politicians,” he said.

“We’re going into war – we need proper leaders.”