The UK will double its investment to help developing countries turn the tide against climate change and species loss. The announcement to double the UK’s international climate finance (ICF) spend was made by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the UN General Assembly in New York.
ICF refers to UK aid support given to poorer countries to deal with the causes of climate change, like preventing deforestation and reducing carbon emissions, and to prepare for its effects, like giving poor farmers climate-resilient crops that can grow in hotter, drier conditions, or implementing early-warning systems in areas vulnerable to flooding.
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The new Ayrton Fund launched by the Prime Minister is an example of the UK’s ICF’s investment. The Fund will give British scientists and innovators access to up to £1 billion of aid funding to create new technology to help developing countries reduce their emissions and meet global climate change targets.
This announcement means the UK will up its ICF support to at least £11.6 billion over the next five years, between 2021/22 to 2025/26. This represents a doubling of the UK’s commitment to spend at least £5.8 billion on tackling climate change to 2021, announced ahead of the landmark Paris meeting, COP21, in 2015.
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The impacts of climate change will be felt most severely in the developing world, where 100 million people could be pushed into poverty by climate impacts as soon as 2030, according to the World Bank. This significant uplift in UK aid support will help developing countries pursue low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable development.
Addressing the climate summit at the UN General Assembly, the Prime Minister is expected to say, “Today we are not only raising our ambitions for the level of action we will take by 2030 – I am pleased to announce that the UK is also committing to double its spend on international climate finance so that other nations can act too.”
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International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said, “The effects of climate change are being seen all around the world. We have to act now. Doubling our support will benefit the world’s poorest countries, preserve our vital biodiversity and protect our planet.”
This funding will go towards UK aid projects, including:
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- Accelerating the development of low carbon technologies and the shift from fossil fuels to clean energy, such as replacing wood-burning stoves and kerosene used by millions of the world’s poorest families with sustainable and more reliable sources like solar mini-grids;
- Protecting forests and mangroves, which act as vital carbon sinks;
- Creating new protected areas and restoring degraded ecosystems, like abandoned land, which were once home to forests, mangroves and other precious habitats;
- Helping countries and communities most vulnerable to the damaging effects of climate change to become more resilient and prepare for its impacts, including supporting early warning systems in poor communities vulnerable to extreme weather events like droughts or floods which can give people extra hours, days or even weeks to prepare for an impending humanitarian crisis or disaster; and
- Providing smallholder farmers with ‘super crop’ varieties that are adapted to grow in higher temperatures, can withstand droughts or floods, and have natural resistance to pests and diseases, developed specifically for the most vulnerable countries in Asia and Africa.
The Paris Agreement established that every five years countries would make new commitments to reduce their emissions and countries would make pledges on their provision of climate finance, this £11.6 billion is the UK contribution to the $100 billion goal for the next five year period.
The UK is working together with other countries to scale up action on climate change, ahead of hosting crucial UN climate talks in Glasgow next year.
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