New UK climate finance package ‘will push up developing countries’ debt’

A new climate change finance package, announced today by Chris Huhne, will push up developing countries’ debt, say campaigners from the World Development Movement.
At least £235 million of the money announced today by UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne will be in the form of loans rather than grants, going through World Bank climate lending programmes that have already pushed some of the world’s poorest countries deeper into debt.

£150 million, the largest part of today’s announcement, will go to the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund. UK money previously given to this fund helped finance private sector projects including a wind farm in Mexico which violates the rights of indigenous people and does not increase energy access, instead selling all of its electricity at a discounted rate to US multinational Walmart.

But campaigners welcomed the announcement that £10 million would be given to the UN Adaptation Fund, to directly help people in developing countries cope with the effects of climate change. The UK has until now given no money to the UN fund, which is threatened with closure if contributions from developed countries do not increase.

World Development Movement policy officer Murray Worthy said today:

Giving further loans to developing countries like Mozambique and Nepal will only increase those countries’ debt burdens, driving their people deeper into poverty. Richer countries like the UK are largely responsible for causing climate change, and we must take responsibility for ensuring that poor countries, which have contributed very little to global carbon emissions, are able to deal with its effects.

Chris Huhne’s announcement that £10 million will go to the UN Adaptation Fund is welcome, but this is a fraction of the amount he is planning to lend. In order to meet its responsibilities the UK should be giving all of its climate finance as grants, not as loans through the World Bank.

The extra money announced for the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund, which has financed disastrous development projects that have only benefitted multinational companies, will also do little to help the world’s most vulnerable people deal with climate change.’

Read the World Development Movement’s media briefing on the Durban talks
For more information please contact:
Miriam Ross in London on (+44) (0)20 7820 4913 or (+44) (0)7711 875 345 or email
Murray Worthy in Durban on (+27) (0)83 968 9917