UK won’t drop £11.6bn climate finance pledge, Government confirms
A Government spokesperson has confirmed that Rishi Sunak will not drop or scale back the UK’s commitment to spend £11.6bn to support the most climate-affected countries.
The UK and US are today (10 July) hosting a forum in Windsor convening Ministers, philanthropists and private finance leaders to discuss changes that could unlock greater levels of finance for emissions reduction and climate adaptation projects internationally.
British Energy Security and Net-Zero Secretary Grant Shapps and US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry are co-hosting the summit, which comes ahead of a visit to the UK for President Joe Biden later this month.
Following the visit, the King will be informed of the outcomes. He is expected to discuss the issue further with Biden in-person.
Ahead of the summit today, Shapps said: “Finance is the lifeblood of growing economies. Billions has been spent so far to accelerate the green transition already underway, and the UK is delivering its £11.6bn of International Climate Finance to support countries around the world – but if we want to deliver real change, we must go further and do it together.
“The scale of this transition requires trillions in private investment in addition to the public funds we are spending.”
Just days ago, the Guardian was told that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was preparing to either scale back or axe the UK’s £11.6bn commitment to annual foreign spending on climate finance. His argument was that the public would not support money being spent this way amid the current economic downturn.
A Government spokesperson has now confirmed that this is not the case. They said: “Claims that the International Climate Finance pledge is being dropped are false. As the Prime Minister set out at COP27, the Government remains committed to spending £11.6 billion on international climate finance and we are delivering on that pledge. !
The commitment was first made by the UK at COP26. It forms part of a collective commitment from wealthy nations to $100bn of annual climate finance to the Global South. This $100bn commitment was ratified in 2015 but is yet to be delivered in full.
For the 2021/22 financial year, the UK spent £1.4bn on international climate finance. Meeting the new commitment will require a major scaling of finance.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) warned last month that the amount invested annually in clean energy in emerging and developing nations will need to more than triple to reach $2.8trn within ten years. Trillions more will be needed to halt deforestation, reverse nature loss and build in climate adaptation.
Scaling finance in this way will require new commitments from private and public finance – but also changes to the financial system to solve key challenges in finance accessibility. At COP27, Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley kick-started a series of global talks on reforming global financial systems, with a focus on multilateral development banks, to address challenges including risk perception and the affordability of capital.
The latest of these talks concluded in June in Paris with a new global pact.
Building on this event, the World Bank and IMF are this month hosting a Caucus of African Governors in Cape Verde.
UK Minister for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell was present, and stated: The climate crisis is hitting millions of people first and hardest across Africa. As a result, we need urgently to deliver ambitious reforms to ensure that the international financial system helps the most vulnerable countries meet the enormous challenges they face.”
Mitchell also reiterated the UK’s £1m commitment to climate adaptation for Small Island Developing States, to be paid this year.
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