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Blog Posts: united kingdom

  • A Tale of 3 Countries: Water Risks to Global Shale Development

    The shale gas revolution, which began nearly 10 years ago in the United States, is poised to spread across the globe. For many countries, shale gas could strengthen energy security while cutting emissions.

    But unlocking this massive resource comes with a significant environmental risk: access to freshwater for drinking, agriculture, and industrial use.

  • Fast-Start Finance: Where Do We Stand at the End of 2012?

    This piece was co-authored with Smita Nakhooda of the Overseas Development Institute, with inputs from Noriko Shimizu (IGES) and Sven Harmeling (Germanwatch).

    Developed countries self-report that they have delivered more than $33 billion in fast-start climate finance between 2010 and 2012, exceeding the pledges they made at COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009. But how much of this finance is new and additional? Developing countries and other observers have raised questions about the nature of this support, as well as where and how it is spent. Independent scrutiny of country contributions can shed light on the extent to which fast-start finance (FSF) has truly served as a mechanism to scale-up climate finance. Our organizations have analyzed the FSF contributions of the United Kingdom, United States, and Japan, and analysis of Germany’s effort is forthcoming.

    Our analysis revealed four key insights into the FSF experience:

    1) Developed Countries Have Ramped Up Climate Support

    The FSF period has been a difficult one: Developed countries pledged their climate finance support at the advent of unprecedented economic difficulty brought on by the 2008 financial crisis. Nonetheless, developed countries have sustained support for climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, despite fiscal austerity measures that have substantially cut back public spending. Indeed, all of the countries we reviewed appear to have significantly increased their international climate spending since 2010.

    In many cases, data limitations impede a direct or accurate comparison of fast-start spending to related expenditures before 2010. But the UK appears to have increased its climate finance four-fold relative to environment-related spending before the FSF period. Germany has nearly doubled climate-related finance. Japan previously mobilized $2 billion per year in climate finance through the Cool Earth Partnership; under FSF, it reports average spending of more than $5 billion per year. Finally, through its Global Climate Change Initiative, the United States has increased core climate funding from $316 million in FY09 to an average of $886 million per year in FY10 to FY12.

  • Shedding Light on Fast-Start Finance

    How much fast-start climate finance is actually flowing, and where is it being spent?[^1] This question has come up repeatedly alongside the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate talks in Bonn this week.

    Today the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Overseas Development Institute (ODI) published two working papers examining the fast-start contributions of the UK and US (GBP 1.06 billion and USD 5.1 billion, respectively). These papers seek to shed light on how developed countries are defining, delivering, and reporting fast-start finance. A similar paper on Japan’s contribution is under development, led by the Tokyo-based International Group for Environmental Strategies (IGES). The studies are carried out in collaboration with the Open Climate Network (OCN).

  • Coming Up: Assessments of UK and US Fast-Start Finance

    Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), developed countries have pledged to provide “fast-start” finance approaching USD 30 billion for the period 2010-2012. Now, in the final year of the fast-start period, these countries are under pressure to demonstrate that they are meeting this pledge. But divergent viewpoints on what constitutes fast-start finance – coupled with unharmonized approaches to delivering and reporting on it – complicate such an assessment.

    Starting in May 2012, the Open Climate Network (OCN) will release a series of reports that aims to shed light on these discussions by clarifying how developed countries are defining, delivering, and reporting their fast-start finance.

  • United Kingdom Adopts Ambitious Climate Change Target

    Today, the government of the United Kingdom took a significant step to shift to a low-carbon economy, providing clear signals to investors that the UK wants to host large-scale clean energy projects moving forward.

    The agreement announced today takes the form of a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2025, as part of the country’s fourth carbon budget. The agreement of the country’s conservative and liberal democrat parties extends current targets and continues the country on an aggressive reduction path from 2023-2027.

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