Newsletters from No 10: 30 June 2009
On Friday the Prime Minister launched what we believe to be two very important new initiatives to help move forward the international negotiations on climate change and to increase the British public's understanding of them. The announcements were somewhat overshadowed by coverage of Michael Jackson's death (just slightly...), so I thought you might be interested to have more detail. Six months out from Copenhagen the initiatives signal a major gear-shift in the Government's drive to secure an ambitious international climate agreement.
PRIME MINISTER'S SPEECH ON FINANCING CLIMATE CHANGE IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
As those who are following them will be aware, one of the principal issues on which the international negotiations are currently deadlocked is that of finance. It has long been recognised that a new post-2012 international agreement will have to include a financing package through which developed countries provide developing ones with support, both to assist them pay for the incremental costs of emissions reduction and to help pay for adaptation. However so far no developed country has been willing to say how much could be provided or how it could be raised.
Gordon Brown has now done so. Arguing that we need a new model of 'low carbon, climate-resilient development' which enables developing countries to leapfrog the energy and transport technologies on which our industrialisation was based, and to adapt to what is now an already severely changing climate, his speech set out a proposal for a financing package worth $100 billion per annum by 2020. This would be directed at low carbon mitigation technologies, avoided deforestation and adaptation. It would be made up of flows through an expanded and reformed carbon market, a limited proportion of Official Development Assistance (ODA), and a completely new climate financing system, separate from and additional to ODA, funded by new revenue-raising mechanisms. The PM pledged the UK to providing (as part of our fair share of an ambitious Copenhagen agreement) additional funds on top of our existing aid commitment of 0.7% of national income. He gave UK support to the proposal that a small proportion of national emissions allowances should be auctioned to provide climate financing; and expressed interest in exploring the possibility that the inclusion of aviation and maritime emissions in a global agreement (which the Government strongly supports) might yield revenues that could also be used for this purpose.
I attach (below) a copy of the Prime Minister's speech, which you may be interested in read in full (also at <http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page19813> <<http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page19813>>). We were gratified that, at the event on Friday at which the Prime Minister spoke, several ambassadors from developing countries strongly welcomed his initiative, and this was followed by strong support for it from (among others) Kofi Annan and Nick Stern, and by British and international environment and development NGOs.
The PM's speech was timed with a clear purpose – to seek progress at the Major Economies Summit taking place in L'Aquila, Italy, alongside the G8 Summit on July 9th. Following the slow movement exhibited at the latest UNFCCC climate negotiations in Bonn, the PM felt that a practical proposal needed to be put on the table. We hope that this intervention will help accelerate a much more realistic and focused dialogue between developed and developing countries. It is the PM’s belief that only leaders can break the deadlock, and he intends to work with his fellow leaders, at the Summit and beyond, to make that happen.
I will report again on progress following the Summit.
THE ROAD TO COPENHAGEN – A UK MANIFESTO FOR THE GLOBAL DEAL
Launched at the same event by Gordon Brown, Friday also saw the publication by Ed Miliband and DECC of The Road to Copenhagen: The UK Government’s case for an ambitious international agreement on climate change. Available at <http://tinyurl.com/l556er> <<http://tinyurl.com/l556er>> and in hard copy, this document constitutes the first time the Government (or any Government, we think) has set out in detail for the public not only why a new international agreement is needed, but what it should contain. ‘R2C’ argues that we need an agreement that is ‘ambitious, effective and fair’, aimed at putting the world on a path to limiting global temperature rises to 2C and to helping the poorest countries adapt. The document explains our proposals in each of the major fields an agreement should cover, including emissions reductions for both developed and developing countries (equating in total to at least a 50% reduction in global emissions by 2050), the carbon market, technology, forestry and land use, adaptation, finance and governance. It also gives some details on what the Government is doing to achieve such an agreement, including the huge UK diplomatic effort under way around the world, through the FCO network and ministerial and official missions. Our aim in publishing it is to give people a much clearer idea of what it is that we are trying to achieve in Copenhagen and why. I would urge you to have a look at it.
This is part of the Government's attempt to encourage the kind of public awareness and concern that helped drive the G8 decisions in 2005 to cancel poor countries’ debt and double aid. It is, frankly, a great pity that nothing like Make Poverty History has yet been mobilised around Copenhagen, though various organisations are now making efforts; in the meantime the Government believes we can at least help inform the public better. So alongside the full document DECC is also distributing 20,000 copies of a shorter leaflet to schools, citizens advice centres and every library, and making this available online too (<http://tinyurl.com/nfhf62>) And at the same time DECC has launched a new website providing a regular update on the state of the negotiations and associated activity (www.actoncopenhagen.gov.uk <<http://www.actoncopenhagen.gov.uk/>>). The leaflet includes a list of 15 actions individuals can take to reduce their carbon footprint (and save money at the same time); for good measure we have also produced a refreshed carbon calculator (<http://actonco2.direct.gov.uk> <<http://actonco2.direct.gov.uk/>>) to enable people to work out by how much.
BUILDING BRITAIN’S FUTURE
Finally, you may have seen that the Prime Minister launched yesterday the Government’s plan for economic recovery and improving public services, Building Britain’s Future. Most attention has naturally focused on the Government’s proposals for providing jobs for young people, building more affordable homes, and giving public service users entitlements to high quality services in health and education. But there is much more in this document besides, including proposals for democratic renewal, for a new assessment of infrastructure needs, for an active industrial strategy focusing on key sectors – including low carbon energy – and for an engaged foreign policy (including the high priority given to achieving a deal in Copenhagen and to energy and resource security). Setting out the Government’s proposed legislative programme for the 5th session of this Parliament, Building Britain’s Future includes notice of an Energy Bill to implement our commitment to finance up to four carbon capture and storage demonstration plants. For full details, see <http://www.hmg.gov.uk/buildingbritainsfuture> <<http://www.hmg.gov.uk/buildingbritainsfuture>> . I will come back to all the energy and climate proposals in due course.
Special Adviser to the Prime Minister
10 Downing St
London SW1A 2AA