QUAKERS in Britain have joined 91 other organisations in writing to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, asking him to stand by his commitment to a £11.6 billion climate finance fund. “Climate finance is a vital component of the Paris Agreement”, the letter said, “without which limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5C will not be possible.”

The flagship pledge to protect vulnerable countries against the climate crisis was supposed to be spent over five years between April 2021 and March 2026. But the government has provided so little of the funding to the world’s poorest nations that reaching the £11.6 billion target is next to impossible. The Guardian newspaper has reported that a leaked briefing note to ministers lays out reasons for dropping the pledge.

“Climate finance is not a handout, but a debt we owe to countries and communities that have been made vulnerable to climate change, while the UK has benefited from burning fossil fuels”, the letter said. “It is also in the UK’s enlightened self interest to prevent further climate breakdown,” signatories from across civil society including WWF, Action Aid and Christian Aid added.

Agreements that rich countries would provide billions in funding to help the developing world slash fossil fuel emissions and cope with climate emergencies have been repeatedly broken since 2009. The Labour party has also refused to commit to the climate funding commitment should they win the next general election.

Projects already funded include protecting forests, constructing renewable energy facilities, and enabling low-carbon city planning.

Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain, said: “Our planet has limited resources. Those who are experiencing the worst effects of climate breakdown have done the least to cause it. This is morally wrong. It’s time for the UK to contribute our fair share of emissions cuts and finance. Quakers see all people as equally precious in the eyes of God.”

He urged the government to lay out concrete plans for how the £11.6 billion commitment would be met with new and additional finance, without taking money from other overseas development areas including humanitarian aid.

* Read the full letter with list of signatories here.

* Read the report in The Guardian here.

* Sign Don’t Scrap the Climate Pledge here.

* Source: Quakers in Britain