A spokesperson for the UK government has announced Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will not scale back or drop the commitment to support countries most affected by climate change.
The UK, along with the US, is currently hosting a forum to discuss ways to unlock more financial support for international emissions reduction and climate adaptation projects. Grant Shapps, the British energy security and net zero Secretary, and John Kerry, the US special envoy for Climate, are co-hosting the summit.
The outcomes of the forum will be communicated to the King, who is expected to further discuss the issue with President Joe Biden during his visit to the UK later this month.
“Finance is the lifeblood of growing economies,” said Shapps. “Billions have 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.”
Recent reports had suggested that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was considering scaling back or abandoning the £11.6 billion commitment due to public concerns amid the economic downturn. However, a government spokesperson has clarified that these claims are false. The spokesperson reaffirmed the government’s commitment to spending £11.6 billion on international climate finance.
The commitment was initially made by the UK at COP26 and is part of a collective commitment by wealthy nations to provide $100 billion annually for climate finance to developing countries. Although this commitment was ratified in 2015, it has not yet been fully delivered.
The UK spent £1.4 billion on international climate finance during the 2021/22 financial year, and meeting the new commitment will require a significant increase in financial support.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that annual investments in clean energy in emerging and developing nations must triple to $2.8 trillion (£2.1 trillion) within a decade to address the climate crisis effectively. Additional trillions will be needed to combat deforestation, reverse nature loss, and enhance climate adaptation efforts. Scaling up finance in this manner will necessitate new commitments from both private and public sources.
It will also require financial system reforms to address challenges related to finance accessibility. Discussions on global financial system reform have taken place, with a recent event in Paris resulting in a new global pact. Building on this, the World Bank and IMF are hosting a Caucus of African Governors in Cape Verde to further address the issue.
UK Minister for development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, added: “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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