Ahead of the international climate change summit, UK PM Boris Johnson said that Britain is set to end government funding for fossil fuel projects overseas. Previously, Britain has been criticised for sending billions of pounds abroad to help extract and refine fossil fuels and build power stations. On December 11, Johnson announced halt in funding of new crude oil, gas and coal projects before opening the climate Ambition Summit co-hosted by Britain, the UN and France on Saturday.
According to The Guardian, the UK PM said that climate change is one of the biggest global challenges and it is already costing lives and livelihoods across the globe. He added that his actions as a leader must not be driven by timidity or caution but by ambition on a truly grand scale. “I’m pleased to say today that the UK will end taxpayer support for fossil fuel projects overseas a soon as possible,” Johnson said in a statement released by his office.
The UK PM has been repeatedly accused of hypocrisy because the UK continued to fund the fossil fuel developments despite preparing to host the next round of UN climate talks, Cop26, in Glasgow. However, now, the UK’s ban on support for fossil fuel will cover “export finance aid funding and trade promotion for new crude oil, natural gas or thermal coal projects”. The latest development will come into force after consultation with industry due to end in February.
The ban will, however, include “very limited expectations” for gas-fired power plants and other projects, within strict parameters that accord with the Paris Agreement. According to reports, the UK has already set a fresh target of cutting emissions by 68 per cent by 2030. On Friday the EU member states announced that they had agreed to strengthen their target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade, in line with their long-term goal of net-zero carbon by 2050.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, more than 70 world leaders will gather online for climate ambition summit to set out free commitments on the climate crisis. Under the current Paris agreement, commitments by countries are insufficient to meet its goal of keeping global temperature rises below 2C more than pre-industrial levels, which scientists regard as the outer limit of safety, with an aspiration to hold rises to no more than 1.5C. Under the agreement, nations must increase their targets every five years in line with the long-term goal, which means submitting new national plans for the cuts they will make between now and 2030.