Cop26: No 10 rejects India’s call for $1 trillion from rich to poor countries for climate crisis

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor, at Cop26 summit
Tuesday 02 November 2021 15:40
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India won’t hit net-zero emissions until 2070, Modi tells Cop26

Downing Street has rejected India’s call for rich countries to hand over $1 trillion to help poor nations meet the climate emergency – arguing they are getting a “massive sum” already.

Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, made the demand at the Cop26 summit, hinting his country would then agree to hit net zero carbon emissions earlier than 2070.

The help, from the industrialised nations responsible for the climate crisis, must be much greater than a 2015 promise of $100bn a year – which will arrive three years late in 2023.

“The ambitions of the world over climate finance cannot be kept standing at the point where they were at the time of the Paris Agreement,” Mr Modi told the summit.

“India expects developed nations to make climate finance of $1 trillion available at the earliest. Today, it’s important to track climate finance just like we track the progress of climate mitigation.”

The UK is donating around £2.3bn a year to that $100bn pot, but has been criticised for taking the money from an aid budget that been slashed by around £4bn a year.

But Boris Johnson’s spokesman rejected the idea of a much bigger climate fund – to enable developing countries to move faster to cut CO2 – making clear $100bn a year is still the target.

“That’s what is forecast by experts to be what’s required to help get to those targets to keep 1.5°C alive,” he told The Independent.

Over the five-year period agreed, it meant £500bn would be handed over, which “would be a massive sum to help out developing countries”.

It is unclear whether Mr Modi was calling for $1 trillion a year, or over several years, but other countries are pushing for a £1.5bn annual target.

The climate finance is seen as crucial in winning the trust of developing nations to make their green transitions, also helping them adapt to the consequences of global heating.

In the run-up to Cop26, a report by Germany and Canada confirmed the target of $100bn by 2020 had been missed, but expressed “confidence that it would be met in 2023”.

In his summit speech, Mr Modi disappointed Downing Street by naming 2070 as its target date to go net zero – 20 years later than Cop26’s aim.

But the announcement is widely seen as a bargaining chip and there is a widespread expectation that India, the world’s 3rd biggest carbon emitter, will get there sooner.

In his speech, Mr Modi said: “When India has resolved to move forward with a new commitment and new energy, then the climate finance and transfer of low-cost technology transfer become even more important.

“We know the reality – that promises made so far over climate finance have proven to be hollow.”

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