Government must accelerate tackling climate change

International Development Committee, a select committee of the House of Commons, has called for a major shift in emphasis and increased funding for policies to reduce climate change, saying that in order to have a meaningful impact on the threats facing developing nations more will need to be done.

The Committee is asking the UK Government to set an example and provide international leadership to realign the focus of aid policy, strategy and funding, to place climate change at the centre, noting that the consequences of a failure to act will be so serious as to nullify the effectiveness of wider aid spending.

The UK’s commitment of spending £1.76 billion on climate finance, dedicated aid spending for climate change related activities, should become the annual minimum, and UK aid for fossil fuel projects should end, unless it demonstrably supports a transition towards zero global emissions by 2050.

Stephen Twigg MP, chair of the Committee, said: “We cannot simply reflect on what we do at home and think that will be enough. We must look at how we can provide the best support to those nations that will face the most serious consequences of climate change yet have done little to cause it. The UK should be in the vanguard of efforts to help prepare the world’s poorest for the extreme consequences of climate change, and it must go hand-in-hand with current programmes to alleviate poverty. We need radical action that places climate change front and centre of all aid spending and policy decisions, and dedicated financing to give it teeth."

During the inquiry, the International Development Committee heard warnings of the consequences of inaction from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Oxfam GB and Marie Stopes International.

The Committee pointed to climate finance as a major driver, and underlined that it ‘must be more than a box-ticking exercise’ and called for consistency across to ensure that aid spending is taking the same approach to climate change – all with a target of reaching net zero emissions, supporting climate resilience and placing climate change as a key consideration in all spending decisions.

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