SHAFAQNA – David Cameron is expected to allocate £650m to a global “green climate fund” this week, risking the wrath of some Conservative MPs and the UK Independence party.Britain is expected to make the offer at a “pledging conference” in Berlin on Thursday, the same day as the Rochester and Strood by-election. Ukip, which is expected to win the contest, has campaigned against green energy and Britain’s overseas aid programme, while many Tory MPs share those objections.
While US President Barack Obama pledged $3bn and Japan promised $1.5bn over the weekend, Mr Cameron declined to say exactly how much Britain would give to the fund, which will help developing countries to cut their own greenhouse emissions or plan for the effects of climate change.
Mr Cameron, speaking after the G20 summit in Brisbane, said the money would come from the UK’s overseas aid budget and that it had already been allocated. “There is no new money,” he insisted.
It is understood that Britain’s contribution will be about £650m, in line with the $1bn offers being made by Germany and France.
The prime minister’s reluctance to set out the exact sum reflects his fear that the donation to the UN-backed fund will not play well in British domestic politics.
For example, the fund will help developing countries to build up their defences against floods, but Ukip will argue that Mr Cameron would be better off spending the money on Britain’s own defences, reminding people of the severe flooding last winter.
The committed funds from the US, Europe and Japan to tackle global warming came as G20 leaders also agreed on Sunday to urge countries to give pledges on their plans to reduce emissions post-2020 as soon as possible.
“We support strong and effective action to address climate change,” said the communiqué, which urges nations to come forward with specific promises to cut emissions by the first quarter of 2015, ahead of next year’s UN climate change summit in Paris.
Australia, which hosted the G20 meeting, had attempted to keep a discussion of climate change off the summit agenda. But in an embarrassing intervention for Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, Mr Obama issued a direct call to Australia to combat global warming on the sidelines of the summit.
“You will recall at the beginning I said the US and Australia have a lot in common. Well, one of the things we have in common is we produce a lot of carbon,” he said in a speech to students and academics at the University of Queensland on Saturday. “Which means we’ve got to step up.”
Australia, the world’s second-biggest coal exporter, and Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil producer, both attempted to limit the G20 statement on climate change. One EU official said the communiqué was fought over line by line in something akin to “trench warfare”.