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Private sector climate finance discussions between the UK and US held jointly

The United Kingdom and the United States jointly hosted a private-sector climate finance discussion.

Grant Shapps and John Kerry will lead conversations with bankers before the US President and King Charles III gather in Windsor to debate international climate actions.

Today marked the start of President Joe Biden's visit to the United Kingdom with the commencement of new talks between the UK and US authorities about how to amass greater funds for climate change initiatives.

This morning, John Kerry (US Climate Envoy) and Grant Shapps (Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary) held a gathering in Windsor with philanthropists and financiers to discuss how to enhance climate funds' delivery to developing and emerging economies.

Once the gathering is concluded, those in attendance are expected to journey to Windsor Castle to apprise King Charles III and President Biden of its results.

At the meeting, Shapps pointed to the Atlantic Declaration as a foundation, a pact between the UK and the US agreed upon in June that vows to increase investment in clean tech industries in both countries.

Shapps remarked that the day aimed to come together with US allies and supporters, utilizing their expertise to benefit not just our economies but those most vulnerable to climate change's effects. He explained that they were informing The King and President of the steps they were taking to reach net zero and to make the climate more resilient with the help of private investments.

This afternoon, Joe Biden is set to converse about global warming with King Charles over a cup of tea after having a rendezvous with Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister, in Downing Street earlier in the day.

Tomorrow, the President will be in Vilnius for the NATO Summit, but before this, he is visiting three countries, with London being the tour's last stop.

Kerry suggested that governments collaborate with corporations and philanthropic organizations to rapidly advance the global shift to net zero emissions and bolster the influx of climate finance into developing countries.

He remarked that the ideas and potential partnerships that were born from today's event and the steps taken by private finance and philanthropies to speed up action towards COP28 [Climate Summit] were of the utmost importance. He also mentioned that since President Biden's inauguration, he has been working hard to tackle the climate crisis in a collective effort between public, private, and philanthropic sectors, and this collaboration with the UK demonstrates that.

As both the US and the UK have yet to reach their promised commitments to climate finance, the meeting is being held in response to criticism from various developing countries and environmental organizations.

This follows the revelation of documents that suggest the UK is unlikely to keep its promise of providing £11.6bn to poorer countries for climate and environmental projects by 2026.

Last week, the Guardian exposed a Foreign Office briefing note to ministers that showed it would be impossible for the government to uphold its previous climate finance commitment. Lord Zac Goldsmith, the former International Environment Minister, referred to the funding shortage as one of the primary motives for his exit from the government.

The government has made it clear that it will be able to make the £11.6bn commitment declared at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow available by the end of the 2025/2026 financial year, maintaining its stance.

However, it has been remarked by onlookers that it would be near impossible for the UK to carry out their promise without a major rise in funding, seeing as reaching the goal by 2026 would need 83% of the Foreign Office's foreign aid budget to go to their global climate fund.

The Transport Secretary, Shapps, has restated the government's dedication to reaching the goal of net zero while underlining the importance of private funds for assisting countries with lower incomes during the transformation.

He stated that finance is essential for the health of developing economies. Numerous funds have already been utilized to drive the green transition that is in progress, with the UK contributing its £11.6bn for climate finance to aid nations globally. He noted that if we are to make a meaningful impact, a much larger investment is needed, which entails trillions from private and public sources.

Adrian Scholtz, a Partner and Global Head of Energy Deals at KPMG noted the pressing need for governments to tackle the high interest rates that have greatly hindered releasing climate finance. He highlighted that the raised cost of finance has to be covered when both the customer and governmental bodies cannot back new decarbonisation investments.

He noted that a large amount of capital and ambition is ready to be directed toward achieving net zero emissions, yet very little is going to non-OECD countries. To address this, he stated that working together to facilitate capital flows by utilizing commercial structures, blended finance, and high-integrity carbon markets is essential. Unlocking this capital, he concluded, is the only way to reach net zero equitably and inclusively.

The US government has come under fire for its failure to reduce domestically sourced fossil fuel production, despite its verbal commitment to tackling climate change. A recent study pointed out that the US's existing and future oil projects will release five times more carbon dioxide than what is allowed under the 1.5C of warming carbon budget.

A joint study by the Global Data research team and Energy Monitor reporters discovered that the US has an estimated 75 billion barrels of oil in operational fields and an additional four billion barrels in proposed areas. Furthermore, the active fields are believed to have 744 trillion cubic feet of gas, and the planned fields hold two trillion cubic feet of gas.

An evaluation conducted by analysts has suggested that US oil and gas projects have the potential to release 75 gigatons of CO2, which is five times higher than the "fair" amount of emissions the US should produce to have a 50 per cent chance of maintaining global warming at 1.5C.

The experts cautioned that the White House's endorsement of initiatives such as the Willow project in Alaska and additional oil-related infrastructure in the Arctic Circle goes against the drop in fossil fuel output required to accomplish global climate objectives.

Nick Ferris, senior energy data journalist at Energy Monitor, stated that although President Biden has declared climate action a priority, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that the world needs a managed decline of fossil fuel assets and a halt on new projects for extraction to be in line with net zero by 2050.


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