Yesterday the government pledged a further £5.8 billion of funding to the most vulnerable countries protect themselves from the effects of climate change. The UK is a leader on climate finance as the only G7 nation to meet the 0.7% aid commitment and the only one to enshrine it in legislation.
Yesterday’s pledge comes as developing countries are at increasingly higher risk of climate shocks, in addition to gradual and significant changes to their environment. The intensity of climate hazards, like droughts, storms and flooding, is expected to rise over the coming decades. Increasingly erratic environmental conditions threaten people’s livelihoods, sometimes forcing people from their homes, and increasing global instability.
Jennifer Morgan, Global Director, Climate Program, World Resources Institute, said: “Change is in the air. After years of pushing, we are approaching a real turning point on global climate action. Country leaders used today’s meeting to affirm their solidarity behind the core components of a universal climate agreement this year. These include a long-term goal for the transformation of the global economy, a requirement for countries to increase their efforts every five years, and assurance that finance will be available to help developing countries.”
“National actions are mounting. But it is clear that these alone are not be enough to address this global threat. A strong global climate agreement will set the stage for greater country actions over time, increase accountability among countries and send strong message to investors and businesses that the global transition to a zero-carbon economy is underway.”
Christoph Bals, Policy Director of Germanwatch, said: “We welcome that the Heads of States at their meeting in New York have made clear that they are ready to take responsibility for a successful climate deal in Paris. They acknowledged that the agreement must signal the need for phasing out emissions from coal, oil and gas globally. The threshold for success of the deal is to avoid a dangerous global temperature rise of 1,5°C/2°C. IPCC scenarios show that this has to happen until mid-century.”
Climate Action Network director Wael Hmaidan said:”The UN Secretary General’s climate lunch today – together with the US-China announcement last week – has made it increasingly clear that world leaders are starting agree on the ingredients that will make up a new treaty on climate change due this December. Those ingredients include a goal to decarbonise the economy well before the end of the century, a way to periodically ramp up climate action, a support package to meet that goal and a plan to increase the resilience of communities. This shared understanding bodes well for getting an agreement in Paris that has the potential to send a powerful signal to investors that the age of fossil fuels is over, and ushers in 100% renewable energy for all. The challenge will now be to make sure the ingredients selected are baked into a cake that’s robust enough to avoid the worst climate impacts.”
Steve Howard, CSO IKEA, said: “The United Nations and world governments have shown far sighted leadership in agreeing the sustainable development goals. However everyone gathered at the UN this week agrees that if we do not tackle climate change there will be no sustainable development. Leading businesses fully support Ban Ki-moon’s call for bold and decisive action on climate – it is time to go all in.”
Richard Gillies, CSO Kingfisher, said: “The business community understands that the low-carbon economy is the only way forward, and is asking for the long-term planning security to help us drive that transition. We support a strong international framework and welcome the signal from these Heads of State that we are moving towards an ambitious agreement.”
WWF UK Chief Executive David Nussbaum said: “Today’s announcement to increase climate finance shows appetite for ambition – a welcome sign that the UK Government will live up to the Prime Minister’s pledge to strive for a strong deal at the UN climate conference in Paris. David Cameron has just joined other world leaders at the UN in a commitment to end poverty and achieve sustainable development. This announcement by the UK, combined with the similar announcement by Germany, sets an example for other developed countries ahead of Paris.
“Financing adaptation is cruial for poor and vulnerable communities around the world, which are having to cope with the early impacts of climate change – droughts, floods, food insecurity, often followed by unrest.
“We now look forward to further Government commitments to boost the low carbon and renewables sectors here in the UK, ensuring that we can remain a leading voice in creating the low-carbon global economy.”
Christian Aid’s Chief Executive Loretta Minghella said: “We know that without tackling climate change, poverty will be permanent. The UK’s pledge of greater climate finance will play a transformational role in giving people the climate stability they need to lift themselves out of poverty. The UK’s substantial, multi-year commitment of funds will also help build trust with developing countries in the run up to the climate talks in Paris – trust that has been lacking in previous negotiations.”
Ms Minghella added: “Not only will this new pledge unlock international co-operation, it will also make a tangible difference to women, men and children in developing countries. This kind of finance is a win-win: it has the potential to bring clean, renewable energy to some of the poorest people in the world and also reduce global carbon emissions.
“We hope that other countries will follow suit over the coming weeks, ahead of the Paris Summit. At those talks, world leaders should also agree on global revenue-raising mechanisms to deliver the new, additional and predictable climate finance that we know will be necessary in the years to come.”