Climate change is the biggest threat to our planet; tackling it is the number one policy priority of HM Government. In support of this, HMG is doubling its ICF spend to £11.6 billion between April 2021 and March 2026, compared with the previous 5-year commitment of £5.8 billion between April 2016 and March 2021.
At COP26, 141 countries committed to halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030 in the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forest and Land Use. HMG has allotted up to £1.5 billion in ICF over five years to support action to protect and restore forests in developing countries. In the activities supported by the pledge, HMG has promised to promote the full, effective, and willing participation of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in programmes that protect and restore forests, reduce deforestation and forest degradation, and to work to ensure that benefits reach smallholders and local communities.
At COP26 in Glasgow more public and private finance was mobilised to support climate action in developing countries than ever before. Governments have committed to double the overall finance for adaptation and to better address the threat of loss and damage in climate-vulnerable countries. HMG is working to ensure that all countries make good on their pledges ahead of handing over the COP Presidency to Egypt later this year.
I recognise your point about access. While the amount of available finance is increasing, the current mechanisms for accessing it are often slow, complex and uncertain. The Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance, co-chaired by Fiji and the UK, was established in response to calls for reform from developing countries.
The Taskforce aims to address the way ICF is accessed through the implementation of a new approach to ensure countries and communities get the finance they need faster, and in alignment with their own plans and priorities.
HMG has committed £100m to support implementation of the new approach set out in the Principles and Recommendations, and ministers encourage other providers and recipients to apply this approach.
The Heat and Buildings Strategy marks a step change in improving energy efficiency and how we heat them. From 2035, all new heating systems installed in UK homes will either use low-carbon technologies, such as electronic heat pumps, or will support other new technologies, such as hydrogen-ready boilers, where the Government is confident fuel can be clean and green.
To encourage consumers to install low-carbon alternatives, a new £450 million three-year Boiler Upgrade Scheme will offer households £5,000 for low-carbon heating systems, such as heat pumps. This scheme is scheduled to open in April 2022.
The strategy also announced that the Government is boosting funding for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, by investing a further £800 million over 2022/23 to 2024/25, and the Home Upgrade Grant, by investing a further £950 million over 2022/23 to 2024/25. This aims to improve the energy performance of low-income households’ homes, support low-carbon heat installations, help to reduce fuel poverty and build the green retrofitting sector to benefit all homeowners.
I do appreciate your concern that these changes do not go far enough. It is important to remember that we are only now emerging from a pandemic that had a significant impact upon public finances. Funding decisions must now reflect that reality. Nonetheless, there is always more that we can do and I shall certainly bear your thoughts in mind for conversations with Ministerial colleagues.
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