New Zealand has pledged to quadruple its foreign aid spending on climate change to counter its “woefully inadequate” response to the challenge in recent decades. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday, October 18, announced the increase in foreign aid spending, stating that the funding will go to helping those countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
The announcement comes just weeks before the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference is scheduled to take place in Glasgow, Scotland, which has been dubbed as one of the last major chances to curb the climate change crisis.
Ardern has therefore affirmed that Wellington will raise its climate aid budget to NZ$1.3 billion or $ 930 million over a period of four years, announcing that at least half of this fund will go to the Pacific Island Nations that are currently battling the worst of the climate crisis.
“New Zealand will do its fair share in the global race to tackle climate change by providing $1.3 billion to lower-income countries to protect lives, livelihoods and infrastructures from the impacts of climate change,” she said in a statement.
The Prime Minister disclosed that the increased funding would help Wellington push more clean energy projects in developing nations, adding that the money would also aid communities to withstand damaging storm surges, rising sea levels and increasing extreme weather that brought flooding and drought.
The decision to raise New Zealand’s existing climate aid budget comes in light of Climate Action Tracker, an independent monitoring website, rating the current budget as “critically insufficient,” with the country’s overall response to global warming listed as “highly insufficient.”
However, the increased funds from 2022-25 will make New Zealand’s per capita contribution to global climate finance equal to Britain’s.
New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister James Shaw said that comparatively wealthy nations such as New Zealand hold the responsibility to help vulnerable nations prepare for climate change. But, New Zealand’s history over the last 30 years has been lacking compared to the scale of the challenge, he said.
“What that’s left us with now is only a few years remaining to dramatically reduce the greenhouse gases that we put into the atmosphere,” he commented in a radio show.