First Minister demands rich countries increase climate funding

Nicola Sturgeon says developed nations must increase funding to help vulnerable countries tackle effects of climate change.

First Minister demands rich countries increase climate funding PA Media
Sturgeon: Rich countries should step up to give funding to countries vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Nicola Sturgeon has demanded rich countries follow Scotland’s lead and increase funding to help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable nations to mitigate the impact of climate change.

The First Minister said the Scottish Government’s decision to commit an extra £3m a year – taking the annual contribution to £9m – to the Climate Justice Fund was a challenge for other developed nations to follow suit.

Sturgeon said it would be “shameful” if the COP26 summit in Glasgow ended without rich nations fulfilling a pledge made at the COP summit in Copenhagen in 2009 to give developing countries 100bn US dollars (£74.7 billion) a year to adapt to rising global temperatures.

However, a report for the UN last year concluded that “the only realistic scenarios” showed the 100bn-dollar promise was set to be broken.

Announcing the increase in funding, Sturgeon said rich countries had an obligation to commit more money and urged other world leaders to step up and give more.

Speaking at a COP26 event alongside the Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, she said: “We’ve benefited through generations from the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere and countries like Vanessa’s are now paying the price.

“Finance is key to this, not as an act of charity, but as an act of reparation.

“There are many things that Glasgow has to achieve and I hope we will see them achieved over the next 40 hours or so.

“But one relatively straightforward thing which should be achieved – and there is no excuse for not achieving – is meeting that 100bn-dollar commitment.

“It was made 12 years ago – it will be shameful if we come out of this COP without that commitment being met.”

Sturgeon continued: “We had already, coming into this COP, made a commitment to double our Climate Justice Fund – and set money aside for loss and damage as well.

“Today, we are now not going to double it, we’re going to triple it.

“And why are we doing that? To send a message to everyone who leads around the negotiating table.

“Step up in Glasgow and let the rich countries start to pay their debt to the developing and vulnerable countries across the world.

“It is no longer good enough and there is no longer any excuse for not doing so.”

Welcoming the announcement and the Scottish Government’s separate £2m fund for loss and damage, Nakate said: “Finance for adaptation is critical, finance for mitigation is critical, but for many of us in vulnerable countries, we cannot adapt any more to the climate crisis.

“We cannot adapt to lost identities, we cannot adapt to lost cultures, we cannot adapt lost histories as the climate crisis is slipping and washing everything away. We cannot adapt lost biodiversity and we cannot adapt to extinction.”

She added: “This is why it’s important to see that a separate fund for loss and damage is put in place and it’s a good start to know that Scotland has put some money into that fund and it recently doubled the finance for the fund to £2m.

“We want more businesses, more countries, more investors to put money in this loss and damage fund because we need finance for communities that are on the frontlines of the climate crisis.”

The head of Oxfam Scotland, Jamie Livingstone, welcomed the funding increase.

“This announcement from the First Minister has hugely raised the stakes as the COP26 talks enter their final few hours, sending a powerful message to the leaders of other rich nations that it’s simply unconscionable to leave poor countries picking up the tab for a climate crisis they did least to cause,” he said.

“Other governments must now step up and follow Scotland’s lead by making substantial new financial commitments to developing countries, where people are already losing their lives, homes and livelihoods to climate change.”