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UK allocates £5.8bn to fight climate change in poorer countries

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced the government will provide £5.8bn to the International Climate Fund over the next five years to help the world’s poorest nations adapt to climate change.

Financial support will increase by at least 50% between April 2016 and March 2021, which will allow the International Climate Fund – set up in 2011 to address climate change and help the developing world react to extreme weather events – to support cleaner, greener growth.

Mr Cameron said the government will also aim to aid measures specifically to help poorer countries, which will include spending at least £1.76bn in 2020.

Mr Cameron’s comments were made during the conclusion of the Sustainable Development Goals Summit on 27 September, where around 30 leaders, including many from the G20 countries, were in attendance.

He joined other world leaders in calling for a “new chapter” in global development, where he argued that tackling extreme poverty and climate change had the potential to give security to future generations to come.

Mr Cameron said it was important to secure an ambitious, global deal at the international climate change talks in Paris this December.

“This is a clarion call to the whole world to eliminate for the first time the scourge of extreme poverty,” he said.

He committed to move forward in a way that was sustainable, as all progress would be nullified if nothing was done to combat climate change. 

NASA/GISS

Global Temperature

Source: NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)

This graph illustrates the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures

The above graph illustrates the change in global surface temperature relative to 1951-1980 average temperatures. The 10 warmest years in the 134-year record all have occurred since 2000, with the exception of 1998. The year 2014 ranks as the warmest on record. (Source: NASA/GISS)

To address this increase in temperature, Mr Cameron said investment, trade, growth and jobs were needed, as was investment in new forms of clean energy. 

The new package of climate finance will aim to drive poverty reduction and catalyse the shift to low-carbon, resilient development in low and middle income countries by:

  • helping countries manage risk and build resilience to the damaging effects of climate change;
  • preventing emissions and creating jobs through low-carbon growth; and
  • ensuring sustainable management of natural resources, such as forests.

The UK is on track to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 and the government has agreed to the EU position of a binding, economy-wide, domestic greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 40% by 2030.

Critics, however, will question how the £5.8bn will be spent – particularly as recent decisions regarding renewables have resulted in subsidy cuts.

The UK recently fell out of the top 10 in Ernst and Young’s Renewable energy country attractiveness index (RECAI) for the first time since it was launched 12 years ago.

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