The United Kingdom has identified the projects it will be spending the 150 million pounds ($241.5 million) it has committed as climate funding until 2015.
Of the announced climate aid at the U.N. climate change conference in Doha, Qatar, 98 million pounds will go to renewable power generation in Africa, while 14 million pounds will support small-scale renewable energy projects in Uganda. Both also aim to promote private sector investment in the continent. A total of 21 million pounds, meanwhile, will help improve water resources management in developing countries through a World Bank Water Partnership Program and the Global Water Partnership.
The United Kingdom will also provide 15 million pounds to help improve farmers’ livelihoods and to support the growth of low-carbon agriculture in Colombia, according to a press release.
The announced package is part of the 2.9 billion pounds the United Kingdom has already committed for the 2011-2015 period, Katie Lewis of the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change told Devex in an email. She clarified “this is not new money,” but said “we have another £1.8bn to spend up until 2015.”
The department, however, is not yet providing details on how it plans to spend the remaining funds.
While a welcome announcement, Christian Aid’s senior climate change adviser Mohamed Adow said “if other developed countries continue to offer vague assurances rather than solid commitments, their claims about showing leadership in tackling climate change are like a mirage in the Qatari desert.”
A number of organizations released evaluations of donors’ climate finance commitments in the lead up to the conference in Doha. In an Oxfam report, the anti-poverty group noted that a large percentage of donors’ climate financing is not new, only in addition to their official development assistance, and more were provided as loans than grants.
“We have delivered what we said we would,” U.K. energy secretary Ed Davey said at the conference. “Britain has promised a total of £2.9bn. We are on track to give £1.5bn for fast-start finance and our share of the long-term goal of $100bn by 2020.”
But while the announcement has received generally positive remarks from aid groups, it earned criticism from some members of parliament as it comes amid austerity measures back home.
“It’s the British taxpayer having to pay for this absurd expenditure. We know wind farms are all but useless and nobody wants them in England, let alone Africa,” Member of Parliament for North East Somerset Jacob Rees-Mogg said, The Telegraph reports.
Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire Glyn Davies, meanwhile, said: “This can’t be the priority for spending when the Coalition government is trying to create jobs and reduce the cost of living.”
EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard has hinted that other member states will also make aid announcements at Doha, according to Agence France-Presse.
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