Climate aid key to Paris deal, says Amber Rudd
Climate aid to developing countries is likely to be the biggest sticking point hindering a global deal at the UN climate talks in Paris later this year, according to the UK's energy and climate secretary.
Amber Rudd, who will lead the UK’s negotiating team, said that creating a meaningful financial package for developing countries is “absolutely essential” for brokering an agreement.
She affirmed the UK’s commitment to meeting the global goal of making $100bn (£65bn) a year available by 2020 to help developing countries adapt to and mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
Rudd said: “I think the most challenging element of getting a deal in Paris is demonstrating that we have corralled sufficient climate finance. I’m very involved with making sure we work with other governments to make sure that the [$100bn] commitment is in place so that we can give countries the confidence to sign up to the Paris deal in order to get the growth they need to take people out of poverty. Having evidence of that and being able to show we can mobilise it from 2020 is absolutely essential to getting a deal.”
Speaking on Wednesday evening at an event hosted by the Climate Coalition following the UK’s biggest ever mass climate change lobby, she promised to push for a strong deal in Paris.
“I am absolutely committed to making sure we get this ambitious deal – and as legally binding as possible in December. The UK has been a leader in this area ... I am picking up the baton and will run with it.”
Negotiators from more than 190 countries will meet in Paris. The conference will focus on getting commitments from both developed and developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to take effect from 2020 when current commitments expire.
Rudd’s focus on climate aid follows recent interventions by the French foreign and environment ministers and a joint statement published by French president Francois Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel.
December’s landmark climate change conference in Paris was high on the agenda at G7 meetings in Germany last week in which Merkel urged for the end the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who will chair the conference said that climate finance for developing nations would be “decisive” to securing a global deal.
The $100bn target was first promised at the previous major climate change conference at Copenhagen in 2009 but so far only around half of that amount has been met.
“The promise of Copenhagen must be kept, absolutely – it is the basis of trust, and for many countries it is the condition of reaching agreement. Therefore, it is a priority as president [of the negotiations],” he said.
Environment minister Segolene Royale told the Guardian two weeks ago: “developing countries are not hostile [to an agreement]; I would say that they are positive, but they are waiting to see. We have to meet their expectations.”
Rudd’s comments come as the Pope delivers a historic encyclical on climate change, a 180 page document on the issue in which he pointed the finger of blame at rich countries, calling on them to pay “the grave social debt” they owe to the poor.
Rudd said: “The people who are really suffering are those in the poorest countries. The pope is making that point. The answer is that we can’t expect poorer countries to miss out on industrialising because we want to everybody to address climate change and so we have to address it with climate finance.”