Britain is set to pledge hundreds of millions of pounds to a United Nations “green bank” intended to help poor countries prepare for the impact of global warming.
The announcement is expected at a pledging conference in Berlin on November 20, after Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK would “play a very positive part” in supporting the Green Climate Fund.
The timing is awkward for Conservatives as it comes on the same day as the crunch Rochester and Strood by-election, where Mr Cameron’s party is struggling to fight off a challenge from Ukip, which argues that Britain is already too generous with overseas aid.
No specific figure has yet been confirmed for the UK’s contribution, but energy minister Amber Rudd said earlier this month that Britain will donate “strongly” to the fund.
With American President Barack Obama announcing a 3 billion US dollar (£1.9 billion) contribution during the G20 summit in Australia, the pressure is on Britain to make a commensurate donation, and anything in less than nine figures is not thought likely.
Speaking at the Brisbane summit, Mr Cameron was careful to stress that the money will come from funds already earmarked for international development, and do not represent a new financial commitment.
“Britain has already set aside a substantial amount of money for green climate funds,” said the Prime Minister. “All we have to do now is to decide how much of that already-set-aside money to put into this specific fund.