UK aid spending risks undermining government efforts to address climate change

Credit: piyaset/istock

The UK can provide global leadership by taking a more joined-up approach to its international aid spending to make sure it is not undermining its own efforts to address the threat of climate change, the Grantham Research Institute has said today (Wednesday 8th May), as it welcomed a report by the International Development Committee.

The International Development Committee today published its report ‘UK aid for combating climate change’, which called for consistency across government to ensure that all aid spending is taking the same approach to climate change. The report highlighted that UK Export Finance provided support worth £4.8 billion to fossil fuel projects between 2010 and 2016, compared to a total spend of £4.9 billion on the International Climate Fund between 2011 and 2017.

Professor Sam Fankhauser, Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said:

“The UK Government risks undermining its own efforts to address the real threat of climate change by continuing to fund fossil fuel projects that are not compatible with global climate targets through its international aid spending.

“It is important that the Government takes on board the timely report from the International Development Committee, which rightly says that the UK should be at the forefront of global efforts to meet climate change targets.

“In the next 15 to 20 years, it is estimated that the world economy will double in size. At the same time, greenhouse gas emissions will have to decrease by approximately 30% by 2030 and reach ‘net zero’ by the middle of the century to limit global warming to no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

“UK aid spending must be realigned so that it consistently supports poorer countries that will experience the worst effects of climate change to keep their emissions low, to prepare for changes such as more frequent extreme weather events, and to make the most of low-carbon economic opportunities.

“Funding billions of pounds of fossil fuel-based projects may help countries in the short-term with energy security and job creation, but runs the risk of locking these countries into economic growth that relies on too-high levels of emissions. The UK can provide important global leadership by reviewing all aid spending to make sure it supports a transition towards zero emissions.”

The Grantham Research Institute submitted evidence to the inquiry House of Commons Select Committee on International Development on: UK aid for combating climate change in October 2018.

 

For more information about this media release please contact Kieran Lowe on +44 (0) 20 7107 5442 or k.lowe@lse.ac.uk or Bob Ward on +44 (0) 7811 320346 or r.e.ward@lse.ac.uk.

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. The ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (http://www.cccep.ac.uk/) is hosted by the University of Leeds and the London School of Economics and Political Science. It is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (http://www.esrc.ac.uk/). The Centre’s mission is to advance public and private action on climate change through rigorous, innovative research.
  2. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham) was launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science in October 2008. It is funded by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (http://www.granthamfoundation.org/).

 

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