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U.K. keen on global fund to tackle climate change

The Hindu, New Delhi, 8th September, 2014


The British government is very keen to see the operationalising of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). “It was never us blocking the process nor was it the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. It appears that we are now close to operationalising the GCF and we will be pushing for that to be developed and we are ready to put money into it,” said Sir David King, the U.K. special representative for Climate Change, who is visiting India. In an interview to The Hindu, Sir David said, “The UK is a good player, we have created a fund of 0 .7 per cent of GDP for development aid and we have been spending that significantly, particularly in least developed countries. We are keen to demonstrate our willingness on the GCF and we have done this by set up our own International Climate Fund and we have put £ 3.9 billion, which we have begun spending on exactly what India is asking for.” The main purpose of his visit is to get India on board a proposal for a Global Apollo Programme to assist in technology transfer to the developing world.


Among its objectives is a future where renewable energy is cheaper to produce for every country in the world by 2025. A former chief scientific adviser to the British government, he said the first step was to create a consortium of countries willing to further this goal. The consortium is likely to include Britain, Japan, the U.S. and some European nations. Sir David also wants India on board. “The proposal is that each country will put three members on the consortium, which will develop a roadmap of research, development and demonstration projects to achieve its objectives. We are looking to raise a fund of ten billion dollars a year for ten years which would go into research,” he said.


All member countries would contribute funds. The programme was looking at ten countries and suggesting an entrance fee of 0.2 per cent of GDP, he said. “Let me clarify, this is not to put into a pot — each country will spend this in their own country and there could be collaborations. Particularly the demonstration projects, we would like to see going to least developed countries. I see the U.S. possibly being part of it and India hopefully. I would like to see China, Brazil and I think the countries that would be involved are the OECD [countries] plus the emerging economies — they are the critical players. The beneficiaries are the least developed countries in terms of the output,” Sir David said.


A major component of the proposed research would focus on developing a good technology for large scale energy storage, be it nuclear, wind or solar power. “Wind and solar are intermittent energy while nuclear is constant. If you are producing too much energy from nuclear, you can store it and use it when there is a demand. For all forms of energy, storage is the missing technology. Smart grid technology also needs to be developed, and money could be invested in renewable research development and demonstration,” he said. Keywords: British government, Green Climate Fund, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD countries