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UK Prime Minister calls on wealthy nations to meet $100b climate pledge

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, at a meeting of world leaders on climate change at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, warned that more must be given by rich economies to support developing countries’ transition to net zero.

Boris Johnson
Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Photo credit: AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali

Johnson and UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, jointly hosted the meeting of world leaders on climate change.

Ahead of the Paris Agreement, developed countries committed to mobilise $100 billion a year from 2020 to support developing countries cut their carbon emissions, minimise the impact of climate change and adapt their economies to deal with its impact.

While international support for tackling climate change has increased hugely since 2015, developed countries have collectively failed to reach the $100 billion target – last week the OECD confirmed that only $79.6 billion was mobilised in 2019.

There has been some recent progress. All G7 countries have committed to enhance contributions in the next five years, including scaling up finance for adaptation and nature. At the G7 Summit in June, new pledges amounting to $4 billion per year in additional finance were made by major economies.

With fewer than 50 days to go until the UK-hosted COP26 Summit, the Prime Minister will ask world leaders to build on the work that has already been done and get public and private finance flowing so that the climate finance target can finally be met.

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The leaders attending Tuesday’s meeting, both virtually and in-person, are from both the world’s richest economies and those countries most vulnerable to climate change.

The UK has already committed £11.6 billion in international climate finance over the next five years, twice the previous five-year commitment.

Johnson announced on Tuesday that £550 million of this will be allocated to support developing countries to meet new zero by adopting the policies and technologies needed to end the use of coal and create a cleaner, greener planet.

He said: “In coming together to agree the $100bn pledge, the world’s richest countries made an historic commitment to the world’s poorest – we now owe it to them to deliver on that.

“Richer nations have reaped the benefits of untrammelled pollution for generations, often at the expense of developing countries. As those countries now try to grow their economies in a clean, green and sustainable way we have a duty to support them in doing so – with our technology, with our expertise and with the money we have promised.”

£350 million of funding announced on Tuesday will go to the Climate Investment Funds – one of the world’s largest multilateral funds working to pilot and scale climate solutions in developing countries. This includes support through the Accelerating Coal Transition programme, which seeks to accelerate closures of coal-fired power stations, repurposing sites for clean energy generation and creating green jobs.

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The UK is already the largest contributor to CIFs and at the G7 Summit in June the Prime Minister secured an ambition from all G7 leaders to provide an extra $2 billion to the fund’s two new energy programmes. Tuesday’s announcement represents the UK’s contribution to that target.

A further £200 million of funding at minimum will go to UK PACT (Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transition), the UK’s flagship climate technical assistance programme. UK PACT has been operating since 2018 in 16 countries with high or rapidly growing emissions.

It provides the UK’s world-leading expertise to public, private and civil society institutions so that they can help countries to become low carbon economies – reducing both emissions and poverty.

These new commitments are said to be a significant step on the path to delivering the ambition set out by the Prime Minister and other G7 leaders to help meet the infrastructure needs of developing countries, particularly in respect to clean and green growth.

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Following work with UK PACT, several countries have enshrined Net Zero commitments in law and over $695 million of private investment has been mobilised for green projects in countries the scheme supports.

The new funding will allow UK PACT to continue its work and partner with new countries where the UK’s world-leading net zero expertise is in demand and can make a big difference in reducing their carbon footprint.

With this new funding, UK PACT will broaden its offer to vulnerable countries to help them adapt and become more resilient to the devastating impact climate change is having globally.

At the end of the UN General Assembly this week the UK will publish the detail of countries’ climate finance commitments to date. In response to calls from developing countries for greater transparency and predictability in international climate finance, the UK has asked Germany and Canada to lead on developing a “$100 billion Delivery Plan”, to be published ahead of the COP26 Summit.

The detail on contributions the UK will publish this week will be a key component of this Plan, which will outline how the $100 billion goal will be met through to 2025.

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