Gordon Brown has criticised climate change sceptics as going “against the grain” of all the scientific evidence, as he launched a new group to raise the money promised by developed countries at Copenhagen.
The United Nations High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing will be co-chaired by the Prime Minister and Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Its purpose is to work towards one of the substantive promises from the Copenhagen talks: to raise $100 billion by 2020 for developing countries to use in the fight against climate change.
This aid is vital in the struggle against the effects of anthropogenic climate change, due to the disproportionate hardship that it will cause to the world’s poorest countries. These are well-documented and would cause great suffering in developing countries, the effects of which would rapidly spread across national borders.
According to the Prime Minister, the High Level Group will grapple with:
“the task that I believe is the most important we face – combating climate change by ensuring that the poorest countries have the finance necessary to do so… The task before us, while daunting, is a very important one to the future of the environment of the world.”
This aid must not be taken from other international development funding, the Prime Minister said and he is completely right. While international development and the fight against climate change are inextricably linked and must be tackled together, there are also distinct causes to both which require different action. Taking money from the aid budget to fight against climate change will leave the developing world ill equipped for both.
The UK, and especially the UK Government has led the way here. It is vital that that continues. Gordon Brown has made it clear that, under Labour, it will.
By Tim Nicholls