UK Government disguising ‘pro-corporate agenda with climate finance pledge ‘

The UK Government's pledge to provide climate finance to developing countries risks putting money meant to help the poor into the hands of multinational companies, warns the World Development Movement.

The UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced yesterday that it would spend £1.8bn between 2013 and 2015 to help poor countries adapt to climate change and develop clean energy.

The announcement, timed to coincide with the on-going global climate talks taking place in Doha, did not specify whether any of this money is additional to the £2.9bn previously earmarked for climate between 2011 and 2015.

DECC also announced its plans for spending the final instalment of the £1.5bn ‘fast start’ finance the UK Government ‘promised’ to use by December 2012, much of which “controversially involves a prominent role for the private sector”, said the World Development Movement.

World Development Movement policy officer, Alex Scrivener, said: “While it is good that the UK Government has reaffirmed its previous commitments on climate finance, it looks like it has continued to move in the wrong direction in terms of how to spend the money.

“Most of the money will be spent on projects that put big business rather than the poor in the driving seat. This means we may see more large-scale corporate energy projects which fail to boost energy access.

Scrivener said that despite the UK Government trying to present itself as being progressive on climate change by making this announcement at Doha it conceals a pro-corporate agenda which risks channelling money meant for the poor to benefit big business.

“The UK’s obsession with bringing in big business at all costs risks leaving projects that help poor people adapt to the effects of climate change without funds. These projects are often not profitable and are therefore not attractive to private sector investors. It is these vital adaptation projects that should be made a priority for support with UK public money.”

Leigh Stringer

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