Greens call for UK to pay reparations to countries hit hardest by climate change

3 November 2021

  • Cop26 must provide compensation for historic greenhouse gas emissions from richer countries

  • £50bn in Climate Finance a year by 2030 needed to help Global South respond to the climate crisis

  • As a former colonial power, UK must take special responsibility for ‘reparations’ 

Greens have warned that Boris Johnson’s calls for a Climate Finance package [1] are misguided, nowhere near ambitious enough and ring hollow given government cuts to the international aid budget [2]. 

At their autumn conference, Green Party members agreed a new policy to increase Climate Finance to £50bn per year by 2030 to help Global South countries respond to the climate crisis [3]. Greens believe a key priority of Cop26 must include assistance from countries responsible for climate damage to the lower income countries that are experiencing its worst impacts. They also call for this finance to be in the form of grants rather than loans.  

Green Party co-leader Carla Denyer said:

“It seems to be dawning on global leaders that without a generous climate finance plan to help low-income countries experiencing the worst impacts of the climate crisis, the Cop26 climate talks will end in failure.   

“It is also alarming that the prime minister’s apparent conversion to global climate action is being presented as another opportunity for the UK finance sector. It is essential that climate finance is paid in the form of grants rather than becoming another opportunity to exploit the countries of the Global South.”

“So Boris Johnson’s pledge doesn’t go far enough, and worse still, rings hollow given the huge cut his government recently made to the international aid budget [4].”

Azzees Minott, Chair of the Greens of Colour group, added:

“Western countries that have benefited from exploitation and extraction of natural resources, people and land from global south countries should acknowledge the harm caused and compensate them. These countries that are currently experiencing the worst effects of the climate crisis deserve climate justice.  

“Britain has a special responsibility to the world for historic emissions that are causing loss and damage across the Global South. For a period of 100 years, through the industrial revolution and beyond, the UK was the world’s third largest emitter of CO2 [5]. And this doesn’t include overseas emissions under colonial rule. 

“The new All Party Parliamentary Group on African Reparations and continued local community education and action will go some way to address planet repairs but we also need further leadership at Cop26."

Denyer concluded:

“If the prime minister was serious about helping low-income countries, then he would immediately reinstate 0.7% of gross national income for international aid - which was a clear Conservative manifesto pledge. Instead, we see the chancellor using accounting wizardry to cut overseas aid still further [6]. 

“The Green Party believes that real leadership and responsibility means pledging £50bn a year by 2030 - in grants, not loans - to support low-income countries adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis and help them transition to a clean green future. Climate Justice must be a key priority of COP26.” 


Climate Repairs: Making Reparation for a History of Colonialism and Enslavement - a paper from the Green party exploring in greater depth the idea of climate justice based on the idea of climate reparations.  


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