climate change: UK must do more to help poor countries

Rich countries, including the UK, should be doing more to help poor countries tackle climate change, a group of influential MPs have claimed.

A report by the Commons' international development committee has said climate change is threatening to destroy gains made in poverty reduction and its impacts are being felt most by the people have done the least to cause them.

The MPs claim new funding is now a matter of urgency and should take the form of fresh commitments instead of additions to existing aid pledges.

Commenting, chairman of the committee, Malcolm Bruce MP, said the battle against poverty and the management of climate change represented "the two great challenges of the 21st century".

"Developing countries have not caused climate change and yet many are already suffering from its impact. These countries are also struggling against poverty and it is vital that money which donors have already pledged for poverty reduction is not diverted," he added.

"The government needs to make clear its commitment to the principle of new and predictable funding support for tackling climate change in developing countries."

In December this year the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet in Copenhagen to agree a new framework for tackling climate change.

Today's report claims the conference may represent the last chance for countries to agree strong emissions reductions targets to avert the dangerous effects of global warming.

It is vital that rich countries set rigorous targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensure that these are met, the MPs claim.

Mr Bruce adds: "The Copenhagen climate change conference in December offers an important opportunity for the world to act now to prevent a more dangerous climate for future generations.

"We expect the government to show leadership in working towards an agreement by adopting positions which are equitable and work in the interests of the world's poorest people."

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