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PM Rishi Sunak offered 'maths lesson' on climate finance pledge

14 July 2023
UK - Westminster - Rishi Sunak climate finance maths lesson stunt

Campaigners visited Downing Street to offer the Prime Minister a 'maths lesson' on climate finance

Campaigners have visited Downing Street to urge the Prime Minister not to backtrack on the UK's international climate finance pledge.

The campaigners, dressed as teachers, went to Westminster to offer Rishi Sunak a 'maths lesson' to remind him of numbers that show why backtracking on the pledge would be a mistake.

The stunt follows rumours the PM could backtrack on the UK government's pledge to provide £11.6bn in international climate finance over a five-year period to countries on the frontline of the climate emergency.

What is climate finance?

'International climate finance' is money intended to assist countries most vulnerable to the climate crisis to prepare for future climate catastrophes and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Rich countries, as the largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions over the last 200 years, committed to provide this money as a recognition that those who've polluted the most have an obligation to assist countries who are being hit hardest.

The Prime Minister has expressly stated in Parliament that “keeping our promises on climate finance” and “delivering on our commitment of £11.6bn” is “central to all our efforts” on climate.

What are the climate finance rumours?

Media reports indicate that fear ministers could be looking to delay delivering on the UK's climate finance pledge or that money could be raided from other parts of the aid budget.

Campaigners taking part in the stunt outside Downing Street argued that claiming the government can’t afford to stick to its pledge would be “bad maths” from the Prime Minister given the cost of failing to take immediate action on the climate crisis.

UK - Westminster - Climate finance now signs outside Downing Street.jpg

Will you demand Rishi Sunak sticks to the UK's promise to stand by communities being hardest hit by the climate emergency?

Breaking climate finance pledge would be "expensive mistake"

Neil Thorns, Director of Advocacy at CAFOD, said:

“Failing to pay the bill now to halt catastrophic temperature rises and support countries on the frontline of the climate crisis would be appalling maths. It would be one of the most expensive mistakes a prime minister could make.

“Rishi Sunak needs to check the spreadsheets again. People in communities that have contributed least to causing the crisis must not be the ones who pay the heaviest price.”