UK to put climate crisis and environment at the heart of overseas aid

(The Guardian, 3 Jul 2019) Government will spend £193m on directly tackling climate-related issues in first initiative.

The UK will have an “ethical” development policy that puts the climate emergency and environmental protection at the heart of overseas aid, with more than £190m to be spent directly on climate-related issues in the first initiative, the government has announced.

Rory Stewart, the international development secretary, said he hoped this sum would soon be doubled and “run to billions rather than hundreds of millions” within a few years.

But he noted even this would not be enough given the massive international lack of funding for the climate. “Particularly in the midst of a leadership campaign, people talk as if we are spending eye-watering sums [on international aid], but … the global funding gap on climate change is $2.5tn. We are only just scratching the surface,” he said.

However, Stewart’s ambition of increasing spending on the environment may not become lasting government policy, as he is likely to be reshuffled when either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt becomes prime minister. He recently said it would be “heartbreaking” to leave the post.

Of the initial £193m, about £100m will be spent on low-carbon energy and projects to cut carbon emissions in the developing world. The remainder will be split among projects to help developing countries adapt to the effects of global heating, and agriculture, including developing crops that are less susceptible to heat, drought and floods.

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The Guardian, 3 Jul 2019: UK to put climate crisis and environment at the heart of overseas aid