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Green Climate Fund

Volume 756: debated on Monday 27 October 2014


Asked by

My Lords, the UK recognises the importance of a successful initial resource mobilisation process, and is keen for the fund to become operational as soon as possible. We aim to pledge at the initial Green Climate Fund pledging meeting arranged for 19 and 20 November, ahead of the United Nations climate change negotiations at the start of December. We are a strong supporter of the Green Climate Fund, because we see it as a key new vehicle for helping developing countries adapt to climate change and follow low-carbon development paths.

I thank the Minister for her reply, and I am grateful for all that the Government are doing in this important area. So far, 10 countries, I think, have pledged contributions to the Green Climate Fund, but despite his warm words recently in New York the Prime Minister was not among those offering to make a pledge. Can we have some information about how much Her Majesty’s Government intend to pledge, and can we know what else we shall put on the table, if we are to have credibility at the discussions in December in Lima?

My Lords, the UK is committed to scaling up climate finance, and we have already committed £3.87 billion from our International Climate Fund between 2011 and 2016. The first £1.76 billion of this has already been committed from the International Climate Fund, and is expected to achieve the following lifetime results. However, the right reverend Prelate is right that we need to encourage all member states to come up to the mark and ensure that they are all contributing. This is a very important area. The UK is absolutely committed, and the Prime Minister has made that very clear. He will announce his pledge in November.

My Lords, regarding recent international climate negotiations, does my noble friend agree with me that we should congratulate the DECC team and the Secretary of State on the climate energy deal done at the European Council over the past couple of days? Does she agree that that illustrates that, by leadership from Britain, by persuasive argument and by building up a team of other member states around us, we can succeed in European negotiations and win for Britain?

My Lords, the Minister carefully explained to the House the expenditure by HMG on international climate initiatives, but can she be quite specific? Is she saying that in November the Prime Minister will actually make a pledge to the Green Climate Fund?

My Lords, in case I was not clear in my initial Answer, I repeat that the Prime Minister, like leaders from a number of other countries, will pledge our support in November.

My Lords, will my noble friend say whether this money, if it is produced and paid out, will be from some magic source of which we are not yet aware, or will it be simply more borrowing to add to the deficit and to our debt?

My Lords, with other countries, we pledged to ensure that £100 billion will be made available to tackle global climate change issues. Our contribution to that thus far is £3.87 billion.

My Lords, on Friday the IPCC will publish the synthesis report for its fifth assessment report into climate change. It is likely to say, yet again, that there is now incontrovertible proof that climate change is a serious issue and we all must take notice of that. Does the Minister accept that Friday might be a good opportunity to point that out to some of the Back-Benchers in her party?

The noble Baroness is right. The fifth assessment report has concluded that, and many around your Lordships’ House recognise that. It is not just about Back-Benchers on my side; it is about ensuring that we deliver an informed debate, and perhaps thus far that debate has not really taken place.

My Lords, I echo my noble friend Lord Teverson in welcoming the agreement reached within Europe the other day because it was clearly non-binding, as the noted energy expert Nick Butler has pointed out in an excellent article in today’s Financial Times. It is non-binding in two ways: it applies to the European Union and not to any of the member states, where decisions are in fact taken; and it is explicitly open to review in the light of the forthcoming global conference on these matters.

My noble friend is absolutely right: that it is not a binding target. However, in the UK we have not been under binding targets before but have managed to ensure that our uptake of renewables has increased. We have almost doubled our renewable energy sources since coming into government in 2010. It does mean that we have an agreement now from 28 members, all agreeing that the targets, being non-binding, enable each member state to be free and flexible in how it reaches those targets.

My Lords, does my noble friend the Minister agree that the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has confirmed, in the same words, that there has been a “hiatus” in global warming for at least the past 15 years? Will she give us the opinion of her scientific advisers as to when that hiatus is likely to end?

My Lords, my noble friend raises a couple of issues that we would dispute in a longer debate. What we do recognise is that a change in weather patterns is happening across the globe and that climate change is occurring; it may have slowed down but that is a good thing, and it could well be that some of the measures we are taking today have helped that to occur. If we are to respond seriously to climate change and changing weather patterns, we need to be able to put in place things that mitigate and adapt to those different patterns.

My Lords, would the Minister care to confirm my understanding that, on greenhouse gases, this agreement is binding?

My Lords, the UK Government asked for a 40% carbon emissions ambition to be reached. That is something the Prime Minister put forward earlier this year. I am glad to say that all the European countries have agreed to that 40% greenhouse emissions target.

May I ask the Minister to return to the question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Tebbit? It is a very pertinent question. Is the money that is going to be pledged in November already in the Budget, or is it to be an increase in the borrowing that the Government will have to undertake, at a time when they have just hit a record for the amount of borrowing?

My Lords, we are clear that we need a Green Climate Fund. We will use a number of financial instruments to be able to achieve that.