Pressure is growing on leaders of the G7 club of rich nations to provide more funding to deal with climate change and surplus COVID-19 vaccines for developing countries as an act of global solidarity when they meet this coming weekend in Britain.
Green groups, development agencies and international policy experts said those gestures would be effective in building trust ahead of November’s COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, seen as crucial to putting the 2015 Paris climate accord into practice.
But persuading G7 leaders to dig deeper has been further complicated by Britain’s decision to temporarily cut its overseas aid budget due to COVID-19 economic woes, even while doubling its climate finance in the next five years.
Pete Betts, a former EU lead climate negotiator, said the UK aid decision had caused disappointment in the developing world and prompted senior officials in other rich countries to question why they should raise their climate finance pledges.
“I fear it is eroding and undermining the UK’s credibility to push others to do more,” the former UK bureaucrat, now an associate fellow at think-tank Chatham House, said during an online press briefing on Monday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told a high-level dialogue hosted by Germany in May he hoped to secure a “substantial pile of cash” at June’s G7 meeting, so that rich nations would fulfill an unmet promise to channel $100 billion a year in climate finance to vulnerable countries from 2020.
Rachel Kyte, dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University, said G7 leaders should make a clear commitment to honour that pledge – first made in 2009 – before COP26.