UK pledges £720m to Green Climate Fund

The UK has committed to fund 12% of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) up to a maximum of £720m, in order to help developing countries adapt to a changing climate.

The $1.1bn sum is more than France and Germany gave (both $1bn), and less than the US and Japan, who gave $3bn and $1.5bn respectively.

The fund, which now stands at $9.3bn, will be managed by the World Bank.

“The poorest and most vulnerable on the planet are already suffering the effects of climate change and it’s our moral duty to act,” said Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey.

“From protecting low-lying islands and coastal settlements from the impact of rising sea levels to helping farmers struggling with lower crop yields caused by the weather effects of climate change – British aid can save lives.”

The $1.1bn comes from the UK’s International Climate Fund, which has a $6bn budget for 2011-2015.

More donations are expected to be announced later today, at the ‘donors conference’ in Berlin.

Commenting on the announcement, Secretary of State Lord Nicholas Stern said: “With this announcement, the UK is making it more likely that there will be a new international agreement on climate change at the United Nations summit in Paris next December. The contribution by the UK to the Green Climate Fund will be multiplied by investments and funds from the developing countries themselves and from other rich countries.

“Overseas aid for developing countries to make the transition to low-carbon economic development and growth helps to reduce poverty and to secure a cleaner and safer future for everyone, including the UK. To suggest that we must choose between investing in flood defences in the UK or helping international efforts to tackle the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing sea levels to rise along British coasts and leading the heavier rainfall is to misunderstand both the phenomenon itself and the basics of policy.

“Reducing risk and managing the effects of climate change must go hand in hand. To suggest otherwise is foolish.”

 Christian Aid’s principal climate change advisor Alison Doig said: “It is right that the UK joins with other global economic powers to support the world’s poorest people, who are experiencing the effects of climate change right now. In the past, the UK has been a front-runner in providing this life-saving finance and now other countries are getting on board.

“This injection of climate funding, which follows on the heels of the historic emissions pact between the USA and China, and the EU’s commitment to cut carbon emissions by 2030, shows that momentum is building across the world to address this global problem.

“These pledges will also hopefully unlock the international negotiations resuming in Lima, Peru, on December 1st, where countries will lay the groundwork for a global climate deal to be agreed in Paris next year.

World Resources Institute finance director Athena Ballesteros said: “Countries are rising to the climate challenge and putting real money on the table. These commitments should help the world’s poorest respond to the devastating impacts of climate change that are already happening. They will also help countries that are looking to move to a low-carbon trajectory.

“While these resources represent only a small portion of what’s needed overall, the Green Climate Fund is being created to make smart investments, and it can also help shift private sector investment toward climate solutions. These urgently needed funds will help to ensure that all people can enjoy high-quality and prosperous lives, even in the face of the climate challenge.

 Brad Allen

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie