A large international pledge made at the G20 summit has been met with questions as Britain struggles with the cost of living crisis.
Tory MPs have called into question a pledge of £1.62 billion to the Green Climate Fund, made by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during the G20 summit, in India last week.
The funding was pledged with the aim of assisting vulnerable regions in coping with the effects of climate change. Critics argue that this allocation of resources could have been better spent domestically, addressing issues such as special needs education, healthcare, and housing.
Craig Mackinlay, the MP for South Thanet, said he was concerned over Western nations redirecting aid funds from humanitarian efforts to climate initiatives.
Funding Shift May Help China
He argued that this shift may contribute to developing countries seeking support from more authoritarian nations like China, which invest in infrastructure projects.
Speaking to the Epoch Times via email, Mr. Mackinlay said: “I have been concerned for some time about the shift of Western countries diverting aid money from humanitarian purposes to supporting climate initiatives instead.
“You could say it’s no wonder that many developing countries are falling into the arms of more authoritarian countries such as China, who have been supporting them with new infrastructure developments.”
He added: “We do need to start thinking much more strategically about where our aid is going; supporting real needs rather than preaching.”
Speaking to The Epoch Times by email, Romford MP Andrew Rosindell spoke of concerns that the prime minister’s pledge was not beneficial to the “taxpaying Briton,” or taking into account the current cost of living.
Mr. Rosindell said: “The country is facing record-level debt and a cost-of-living crisis of a generation, and there is little information regarding how these funds will be allocated.
“The government needs to strike a balance between international and domestic priorities and restore trust in its conservative principles.”
Commitment Raises Questions
The UK’s commitment to the net-zero target by 2050 has raised concerns about energy security. Britain currently relies heavily on energy imports, including a £14 billion annual payment to Norway for gas.
Critics argue that pursuing net zero while neglecting domestic energy production could leave the UK vulnerable.
Additionally, the ban on petrol and diesel car production set for 2030 has sparked debate. Critics view this move as unrealistic and potentially detrimental, while proponents argue for a transition to cleaner energy sources.
Speaking at the recent G20 summit, Mr. Sunak said that Britain was seen as a “global leader” on the issue of climate change.
Addressing the Commons on his return, he said: “While some in Westminster denigrate the UK’s record on climate issues, out there in the world, we are widely seen as a global leader.
“We’ve cut emissions faster than any other G7 country with low carbon sources now providing over half our electricity.”
Speaking regarding the deal, he added: “We’re providing billions for the global energy transition, including through our pioneering just energy transition partnerships, and at the G20 I made a record commitment of over £1.6 billion for the Green Climate Fund, the single biggest international climate pledge that the UK has ever made.”
UK Contributions Continue to Increase
The pledge represents a 12.7 percent increase on the UK’s previous contribution to the GCF from the years 2020 to 2023, which itself doubled the UK’s initial contribution to establish the fund back in 2014.
However, there are calls from some MPs, such as those in the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, which Mr. Mackinlay chairs, to repeal current net-zero legislation and adopt a more achievable, long-term approach to environmental goals.
Some Tory MPs believe this could resonate with disillusioned Conservative voters and address concerns about the cost and feasibility of net-zero commitments.
Speaking to this, Mr. Rosindell added, “I cannot see how this [the pledge] is beneficial to the taxpaying Briton.”
The UK has pledged £11.6 billion ($14.46 billion) for international climate finance from 2021 to 2026.
The G20 nations approved a comprehensive declaration on Saturday, reaffirming their commitment to increase sustainable finance to assist developing nations in reducing carbon emissions.
The declaration highlighted the need for developing countries to secure $5.8–5.9 trillion by 2030, specifically to fulfill their emission reduction goals.