The UN climate summit, Cop26, rescheduled for November 2021, will be a critical moment in the fight against runaway global warming. As the first country to industrialise, the world’s sixth-largest economy and the summit’s host, we have a particular responsibility to make it a success. Failure is something that our planet cannot afford and neither can the government. The head of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), Chris Stark, is right to argue that ministers “are going to have egg on their face” unless they get this right. Our credibility as a climate leader also rests on our actions abroad. One obvious way it can be demonstrated is by making clear that the UK will not finance overseas projects that rely on continued fossil fuel growth. It would appear that the Cop president, Alok Sharma, agrees. Just this month, as part of Climate Action Week, he made the case for “climate risk [to be] factored into every single investment decision taken around the world”. Yet the government is failing to live up to its own creed. Over the past decade, UK Export Finance, the UK’s export credit agency, has funnelled £6 billion of public money into fossil fuel projects around the world. Between 2013 and 2018, 96 per cent of UKEF’s support for global energy projects went to fossil fuel ventures — the vast majority of which were in low and middle-income countries.
Times 20th July 2020 read more »