Thank you for taking the time to write to me about climate change, especially about the UK’s International Climate Finance commitments. I have had many constituents get in touch regarding this issue, some as young as 10 years old and as Mid Sussex's local MP, I believe it is key that we do our utmost to protect our climate for future generations.
Climate change is one of the most serious long-term threats that this country and this world faces and I am proud of the Government's record on addressing these issues, particularly regarding air quality, which I know is a key local concern.
UK ICF supports developing countries to reduce poverty and respond to the challenges caused by climate change and environmental degradation. Investments help developing countries to adapt and build resilience to the current and future effects of climate change; pursue low-carbon development; support sustainable management of natural resources; increase access to clean energy; and reduce deforestation.
Already, it is evident the UK's ICF is successfully supporting developing countries to counter these climate-related challenges. Indeed, I welcome HMG’s ICF Strategy, published in March 2023, that presents the headline achievements of ICF since 2011. The report confirms that UK ICF has supported 95 million people in adapting to the effects of climate change, improved the access to clean energy for 58 million people, and saved 410,000 hectares of land from deforestation.
Indeed, the Glasgow Climate Pact calls on countries to accelerate efforts towards the phase down of unabated coal power and phase out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognising the need for support towards a just transition.
Under the UK’s COP Presidency, almost all developed country climate finance providers made new, forward-looking climate finance commitments, with many doubling or even quadrupling support for developing countries to take climate action. One year on, the Climate Finance Delivery Plan Progress Report has reaffirmed that the climate finance goal will be met by developed countries by 2023 latest, with over $500 billion mobilised over the five-year period 2021 to 2025.
In support of this, I am pleased HMG committed to, and is delivering on, doubling its ICF spend to £11.6 billion between April 2021 and March 2026, compared with the previous five-year commitment of £5.8 billion between April 2016 and March 2021. So far, the UK has spent over £1.4 billion ICF in the financial year 2021/22 and figures for the financial year 2022/23 will be published in due course. However, recognising the existential threat climate change is already posing around the world, the Prime Minister has used COP27 to announce that this Government will commit to triple funding for climate adaptation as part of that budget, from £500m in 2019 to £1.5bn in 2025.
The Foreign Secretary also attended COP27, and used the summit to call for tangible action to deliver on the commitments made at COP26. Leading the way, he announced a range of significant UK investments worth more than £100 million, including £20.7 million in Disaster Risk Financing.
Another significant outcome of COP27 was the establishment of the Transitional Committee under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to develop recommendations on new funding arrangements for responding to loss and damage. The UK continues to play a leading role by encouraging all members of the Committee and other parties to the UNFCCC to consider how new and additional resources can be delivered to support vulnerable countries in the future.
In addition, the UK confirmed new financial support for Egypt’s flagship COP27 initiative, the ‘Nexus on Food, Water and Energy’. This funding will help to develop projects, including solar parks and energy storage innovations, and is expected to mobilise billions in private sector finance.
While there is more global work to be done in the coming years, I am confident that the world will look back at the progress achieved at COP26 and thereafter as the beginning of the end of climate change.