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PA Stefan Wermuth
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PA Stefan Wermuth
UK News

UK urged to reverse aid cut by Christian charity as G7 economies face pressure on climate finance

by Press Association

Christian Aid is calling for an increase in the amount of climate money going to poorer nations, with more focus on funding to help them adapt to increasing heatwaves, floods, storms and failing crops brought on by global warming.

The aid agency said the G7 should broker a new deal to pay for the unavoidable loss and damage caused by the climate crisis, and cancel debt for poor and climate-vulnerable countries trying to rebuild after the pandemic.

Jennifer Larbie, Christian Aid’s UK advocacy and policy lead, warned that “getting an agreement at Cop26 requires trust and richer nations have so far failed to live up to their side of the bargain”.

Finance ministers from the G7 group of major economies will face scrutiny on delivering public aid and private investment for poorer nations to develop cleanly and cope with the impacts of rising temperatures, when they meet in London later this week.

And Boris Johnson has said he wants to secure a “substantial pile of cash” when G7 leaders meet in Cornwall later in June, as the UK government aims to ramp up momentum towards the crucial Cop26 climate summit in November.

Delivering on climate finance to support countries who have done least to cause the climate crisis and are likely to suffer the most from it has been described as a matter of trust by Cop26 President Alok Sharma.

Mr Johnson has called for the world to deliver on a long-promised target of 100 billion US dollars (£70 billion) a year of public and private finance to developing countries by 2020, and then go further.

It is more than a decade since countries agreed the 100 billion US dollars target – but analysis shows rich countries are still about 20 billion US dollars (£14 billion) short of the goal.

Though the UK government has doubled its climate aid to £11.6 billion, it has faced criticism for cutting its overall aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP in the face of the pandemic, as developing countries struggle with both Covid-19 and the climate crisis.

The pressure is on for G7 countries to deliver both on the rollout of vaccines for poorer countries and on finance for climate change.

Joe Thwaites, associate at the US-based World Resources Institute said Joe Biden’s pledge to double spending to 5.7 billion US dollars a year compared to a 2013-2016 baseline, was far less ambitious than the US president’s domestic climate agenda.

He said; “Prime Minister Johnson needs to remind Biden that climate leadership requires leading.

“To catch up with leading donors after the last four years, the US needs to move twice as fast, doubling their current climate finance pledge to 11.4 billion US dollars annually by 2024.”

And David Ryfisch, team lead for international climate policy at Germanwatch, said: “Developing countries risk facing a cascade of crises.

“The G7 needs to respond to these crises, acknowledging that 100bn US dollars annually in support for climate simply falls short of what is needed.”

He said Mr Johnson must convince German chancellor Angela Merkel and finance minister Olaf Scholz to announce a doubling of Germany’s climate finance until 2025 at the G7 summit.

And he said that with climate risks that developing countries cannot adapt to already a reality, Mr Johnson must put finance for loss and damage due to climate change on the agenda at the G7 and in the run up to Cop26.

Addressing a meeting in Seoul over the weekend, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres warned public finance was not flowing where it was now most needed, “to support vulnerable communities that are already suffering the consequences of climate disruption”.

He called on donor countries to significantly enhance their financial commitments, including allocating 50% of finance to adapting to climate change and providing a high level of grants.

The G7 needs to deliver on these objectives, he said, warning “it is not a global partnership if some are left struggling to survive” both on the issue of Covid-19 and the distribution of vaccines and for the climate emergency.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The UK is one of the highest aid donors in the G7 and this year we will spend £10 billion on overseas aid, in addition to our £11.6 billion programme of international climate finance which helps developing countries to tackle climate change.

“The UK was also the first major economy to commit to net-zero by 2050, and last week the Chancellor called on his G7 counterparts to take collective action towards securing a green and global economic recovery.”

 

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