Thank you for contacting me about climate-related loss and damage.
This issue has been at the top of the international agenda in the wake of a series of climate-related disasters in 2023, and agreeing to provide a specific fund for loss and damage at COP27 marked an important point. Indeed, this was the first time the issue was added to the official agenda and adopted.
The agreement to provide loss and damage funding builds on the achievements of COP26 in Glasgow, which saw the agreement of clear functions and funding for the Santiago Network, an organisation set up to support vulnerable countries to access technical assistance, which the UK participates in at official representative level. All Member-States attending COP27, including the UK, also agreed to establish a Transitional Committee (TC) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to operationalise the climate-related loss and damage funding arrangements, as well as ensure the fund for loss and damage is delivered effectively to those countries most vulnerable to climate change.
It may reassure you to know that the UK is a full member of the TC and has engaged actively to support progress through the three committee meetings held to date. The UK is working with the TC, the UNFCCC and parties, and with civil society to ensure funding arrangements and the L&D fund deliver effectively for countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, with strong recommendations taken from the final TC this month to COP28.
In terms of existing funding announcements, the Prime Minister has also announced that the UK will triple funding for adaptation programmes from £500 million in 2019 to £1.5 billion in 2025 as part of our international climate finance budget. In addition, the Foreign Secretary used COP27 to announce a range of significant UK investments worth more than £100 million to support developing economies to respond to climate-related disasters and adapt to the impacts of climate change, delivering on targets set at COP26. The Foreign Secretary also announced £5 million of funding for the Santiago Network for L&D, which will bring together and enhance the technical assistance available to developing countries suffering from the worst impacts of climate change, as part of a £13 million package of support on adaptation and losses and damages.
I also note your concerns regarding the recently announced measures to help us take a more pragmatic approach towards reaching net zero. However, the UK has made progress to cut emissions faster than any other G7 country, with the UK having already slashed emissions by 48 per cent, compared to 41 per cent in Germany and 23 per cent in France. It is this over-delivery on reducing emissions that is allowing the Government to ease the burden on working people. I can assure you that the UK will remain the country with the most ambitious, stringent de-carbonisation targets in the world, even after these changes are made.
While I note the concern about using UK funds to support vulnerable countries in addressing loss and damage, I must respectfully disagree. On principle, I do not believe developing countries should be unfairly burdened with the carbon debt of richer nations, nor that those countries should be expected to forgo that same path to growth. Not only is it morally right, but it is also economically right too: long-term prosperity is dependent upon taking action on climate change and ramping up investment across the world.
I note the calls for oil and gas companies to be taxed to contribute to the Loss and Damage Fund.
As you may be aware, the UK Government introduced the Energy Profits Levy (EPL) from 26 May 2022 in response to sharp increases in oil and gas prices in the preceding year and to help fund cost-of-living support for UK households. On 1 January 2023 the EPL rose to 35 per cent, and this applies through to 31 March 2028.
Any decision to modify our tax regime is a matter for the Treasury and careful consideration will be given to any proposed amendments. I understand that the Government keeps all taxes under review.
Rest assured, Ministers will continue to engage on loss and damage across multilateral fora to ensure sustained action on this pressing issue, including at COP28 in Egypt this November.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP