UK CUTS SPENDING ON CLIMATE DIPLOMACY
A recent Freedom of Information request by Responding to Climate Change revealed that the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has significantly cut its climate and diplomacy budget over the past three years. Figures show that between 2011-12 and 2013-14, spending on activity related to climate change, the low carbon economy, and energy security fell by 28%, while the budget for FCO’s climate change and energy department, special representative for climate change, and overseas missions was cut by 39%. According to Tom Burke, former advisor to the FCO, the government “has cut its capacity to get a better deal for the world in half.” Critics claim the budget cuts will weaken the UK’s voice in the lead-up to the global climate change deal expected in 2015, limiting the country’s ability to influence other countries’ positions on climate action. Critics also fear that the cuts show a shift in priorities; when foreign secretary Philip Hammond took office, he stated that his focus was on “security, economy, and Europe,” making no mention of climate change. For the full story, see http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/01/uk-slashes-climate-change-diplomacy-budget.