The World Development Movement has warned that the climate finance the UK government has announced it will provide to developing countries risks putting money meant to help the poor into the hands of multinational companies.
The UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said today it would spend £1.8 billion between 2013 and 2015 to help poor countries adapt to climate change and develop clean energy.
The announcement, timed to coincide with the ongoing global climate talks taking place in Doha, did not specify whether any of this money is additional to the £2.9 billion previously earmarked for climate between 2011 and 2015.
DECC also announced its plans on spending the final tranche of the £1.5 billion ‘fast start’ finance the UK government promised to spend by December 2012, much of which controversially involves a prominent role for the private sector.
Alex Scrivener, the World Development Movement’s policy officer, said:
While it is good that the UK government has reaffirmed its previous commitments on climate finance, it looks like it has continued to move in the wrong direction in terms of how to spend the money. Most of the money will be spent on projects that put big business rather than the poor in the driving seat. This means we may see more large-scale corporate energy projects which fail to boost energy access.
The UK government is trying to present itself as being progressive on climate change by making this announcement at Doha. But this conceals a pro-corporate agenda which risks channelling money meant for the poor to benefit big business.
The UK’s obsession with bringing in big business at all costs risks leaving projects that help poor people adapt to the effects of climate change without funds. These projects are often not profitable and are therefore not attractive to private sector investors. It is these vital adaptation projects that should be made a priority for support with UK public money.”
UK climate finance has been used to fund wind farms in Oaxaca, Mexico, which are controlled by French electricity giant EDF. All of the energy produced is being used to provide cheap power to Walmart, and none is going to local people. The wind farms have been built on indigenous people’s land without their consent. For more information see the World Development Movement’s report ‘Power to the people?’.