UK commits $2 billion to UN-backed climate fund

(Reuters) – Britain will commit to provide $2 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to help developing countries cope with climate change, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Sunday at the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi.

The pledge would be the biggest single funding commitment the UK has made to date to help the world tackle climate change, a government statement said.

The Green Climate Fund (GFC) – the world’s largest such fund – was set up under United Nations’ climate change negotiations to help channel money needed by poor states to meet their targets to reduce carbon emissions, develop cleaner energy sources and adjust to a warming world.

Britain has committed to spend 11.6 billion pounds ($14.46 billion) on international climate finance between 2021 and 2026.

“Today’s pledge represents a 12.7% increase on the UK’s previous contribution to the GCF for the period of 2020-2023,” Sunak’s office said in a statement.

In July, the Guardian reported the country was planning to drop its flagship climate funding pledge, but the British government said those claims were false. Government officials calculated it would have to spend 83% of the total aid budget on the international climate fund to meet the 11.6 billion pound target by 2026.

The Group of 20 nations adopted a wide-ranging declaration on Saturday that including reiterating its commitment to scale up sustainable finance to help developing countries reduce their carbon footprints. It said $5.8-5.9 trillion is required by developing countries before 2030, in particular for their needs to implement their emission targets.

($1 = 0.8023 pounds)

(Reporting by Mrinmay Dey in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)