Skip to content

Britain’s Bill For Climate Aid Rises To £4.5 Billion

Richard Gray, The Daily Telegraph

An extra £1.5 billion of British public money is to be sent as aid to developing countries to help them tackle climate change after the European Union decided to spend additional funds on aid

Britain has been committed to sending an extra £1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money abroad as aid to help poorer countries tackle climate change due to a new European Union policy.

As part of a new budget, EU leaders have taken the decision to give the funds to developing countries which say they suffer damage due to global warming.

The money comes on top of £2.9 billion the Government has already pledged from its own aid budget to spend on climate change projects. The announcement has angered Conservative MPs and global warming sceptics.

Among the climate change projects already funded by the EU is a 13-mile-long train line in Quito, Ecuador, a country that has enjoyed growing wealth and reduced inequality due to its oil industry.

Details of the extra climate-aid payments emerged as UN climate talks in Poland dragged on into an additional day of bad-tempered negotiations.

Among the key issues being discussed was whether developed countries should pay additional compensation to poorer nations to deal with what they say is the impact of climate change.

Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said the UK was opposed to paying compensation in this way, describing it as “not fair or sensible”.

However, as ministers and officials attempted to negotiate terms for a new deal on reducing carbon emissions last week, European leaders approved the new EU budget from 2014 to 2020.

It included plans to siphon off €15 billion (£12.5 billion) over the next seven years from the main EU budget to be used as climate aid.

The UK contributes about 12.5 per cent of the EU’s overall budget, meaning that about £1.5 billion of the additional aid over the next seven years will have been paid by British taxpayers.

Growing numbers of Tory backbenchers are now calling for the Government to withdraw from expensive climate change and carbon emission commitments.

Japan’s decision to sharply reduce its carbon emission goals and Australia’s scrapping of a tax on high carbon emitters has increased the pressure.

Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Conservative chancellor and a climate change sceptic, criticised the EU for using its wider budget to provide climate aid.

He said: “This is a complete waste of taxpayers’ money. It will achieve no useful purpose at a time when people are already hard pressed.”

Full story (subscription required)