25 July 2019, The Tablet

Aid millions spent on supporting fossil fuels, Cafod says

New research by Cafod has revealed that the UK Government still spends billions of pounds of its aid budget on supporting fossil fuels, despite pledging to take urgent action on climate change.

The analysis, undertaken by the Overseas Development Institute in collaboration with Cafod, found that the Government has made no discernible changes to its overseas energy support since signing up to both the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement in 2015. 

In a report released on Tuesday Cafod revealed that, of the £7.8 billion of support the UK provides for energy in developing countries, 60 per cent goes towards fossil fuels.

A large proportion – 39 per cent – of the UK’s support for overseas energy is classed as Official Development Assistance (ODA), or aid, and is aimed at reaching people in poverty. Of that money, 22 per cent went to support fossil fuels, “despite ODA being targeted at helping people living in poverty – who will be hardest hit by climate change,” Cafod said. It called on the Government to develop “a more coherent, cross-departmental approach to ensure overseas energy support does not undermine the UK’s commitment to climate change action and lifts people out of poverty”. International Development Secretary Rory Stewart – or his successor – should ensure the UK leads the world by stopping any new aid money for fossil fuels and retaining oversight of how aid money is spent by departments outside of Department for International Development, Cafod said.

Dr Sarah Wykes, Cafod’s lead analyst on climate change and energy, said: “It’s shocking that UK aid money is still being spent on fossil fuels overseas.”

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