UK should contribute £20bn to UN climate fund by 2030, report says

The UK contribution to the UN’s climate fund should balloon to £20bn by 2030 if it plans to pay a “fair share” to helping tackle the global climate crisis, according to new research.

A report from the IPPR thinktank says the UK should “shoulder more of the burden” of the global climate crisis because of its major contribution to the world’s rising carbon emissions.

The left-leaning thinktank found that the UK is responsible for the fifth largest contribution of carbon emissions in the atmosphere since the 1750s. The UK is behind only the US, China, Russia and Germany in terms of its global climate impact.

The IPPR called on the next government to radically increase the money it spends on helping to fund green initiatives by almost threefold to match its contribution to the climate crisis with funds to help tackle the environmental breakdown.

The UK plans to contribute just £1.4bn over the next four years to the UN’s green climate fund but has not set its budget beyond 2023.

The call for higher contributions to funding green initiatives is part of a wide-ranging report on the role industrialised nations should play in tackling the climate crisis to help prevent unprecedented financial and political collapse as a result of the climate chaos.

Laurie Laybourn-Langton, an associate fellow at the thinktank, said there is only a chance of averting a global environmental breakdown if countries “take on their fair share of sorting it out”.

“The UK is a wealthy country with a large past and current contribution to environmental destruction, so should shoulder more of the burden. In an age of environmental breakdown, justice must be hardwired through all international relations,” he said.

The calls to shoulder more climate responsibility comes ahead of the UN’s next round of climate talks in Madrid this month. In 2020 the UK will host the event in Glasgow.

Lesley Rankin, an IPPR researcher, said the UK should “forge a positive new role in the world” by coupling its domestic climate ambitions with assistance to help less industrialised countries which are most affected by the environmental crisis.

The UK has legislated a target to become a carbon neutral economy by 2050, but continues to support fossil-fuel projects in the developing world through the government’s credit agency, UK Export Finance.

A failure to prevent runaway climate crisis could result in “an unprecedented threat to international cooperation” and a breakdown of the “international order”, according to the IPPR.

“Whilst nations are turning inwards, the impact of the natural breakdown will be cross border,” the report warned. An environmental breakdown could lead to a global economic crisis triggered by a collapse of the insurance industry as severe weather events increase. It could also lead to forced migration and political upheaval.

In 2018 alone over 17 million people were estimated to have been displaced by extreme weather and natural disasters, the IPPR said. The World Bank estimates that 140 million people could be displaced within countries in several regions by 2050.

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