Good: UK slashes climate diplomacy budget

Yes, I know, climate diplomacy budget.  Read on, though.  20 UK consular officials in the China embassy dealing with climate matters: is this a joke?

The UK is slashing its climate change diplomacy budget even as global efforts intensify to reach a deal.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) cut spending on its core climate change activities by 39% over the past three years, figures show.

This reduces the UK’s capacity to influence other countries’ positions on climate action in the run-up to the global deal expected in 2015.

Newly appointed foreign secretary Philip Hammond is seen as less interested in climate change than his predecessor William Hague, meaning the trend is likely to continue.

Tom Burke, a former advisor to the FCO, said the government “has cut its capacity to get a better deal for the world in half”.

“Until 2010, the UK government was playing a leading role in shaping the global debate on climate change. There was a growing awareness of the importance of climate change as a core national interest,” said Burke.

“Since 2010, the foreign office’s role in that has been cut.”

The extent of the cuts was revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request by RTCC.

Between 2011-12 and 2013-14, spending on activity related to climate change, the low carbon economy and energy security fell 28%, from £22m to £16m. The figures do not include staff costs and overheads.

In the response, an FCO official said the reduction “has been planned as a necessary part of our overall savings programme, and we have been able to revise our spending so that we are able to prioritise it in areas where the FCO can have the most impact”.

The majority of that spending was on projects under the Prosperity Fund, which “promotes action on global issues in areas of strategic importance to the UK”.

When project-specific spending is taken out of the equation, it reveals even deeper cuts to the department’s essential capacity for climate diplomacy.

The budget for FCO’s climate change and energy department, special representative for climate change and overseas missions was hacked by 39%, from £7.5m in 2011-12 to £4.5 million in 2013-14.

The project budget also suggests a shift in priorities.

Spending on “energy/resource security” projects increased by 11% at the same time as “climate change” projects faced a 39% cut.

These cuts took place on Hague’s watch as foreign secretary.

However, he was widely viewed as champion of strong climate action in the cabinet, which also contained the climate sceptic Owen Paterson.

Hammond, who came into the post from the defence department, said on taking office his priorities were “security, economy and Europe”. Climate change did not get a mention.

The subject will become increasingly relevant as countries consider the emissions cuts they can bring to climate talks in Paris next year, where a global deal is set to be signed.

With a reduced budget, the FCO will be limited in efforts to influence other countries ahead of formal negotiations.

Currently, most major embassies have a team focused on the low carbon sector. Around 20 officials are dedicated to climate related activities in Beijing.

Burke, who advised the department’s special envoy on climate change until 2012, said Hague was “a powerful voice” for strong climate action in government.

“Despite agreeing to the cuts, he was a reliable supporter of more ambitious efforts on climate change and I don’t think Mr Hammond will be,” said Burke.

“That will encourage the foreign office, which has never fully grasped the importance of the issue, to keep downgrading it.”

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23 Responses to Good: UK slashes climate diplomacy budget

  1. goatjam

    “The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) cut spending on its core climate change activities by 39% over the past three years, figures show.”

    Why not 100%? At some point somebody somewhere has to say out loud that the “problem” of man made climate change does not exist and that we should not be spending one red cent on solving something that is pure fancy.

  2. JakartaJaap

    20 shiny bums measuring air pollution in Beijing?! WTF?!? The madness of nations. I dearly hope that we (Australia) don’t match that level of idiocy. Although I doubt it.

  3. Ant

    This demonstrates one of the key problems with setting up these spectacularly useless bureaucracies.

    In one sense they’re no different to a government welfare program.

    The instant there’s so much as a rumor that said spectacularly useless bureaucracy is going to be eliminated or even trimmed, all hell breaks loose and we’re told that the world is going to end.

    Or, in this case, after reading “…the government ‘has cut its capacity to get a better deal for the world in half’”, the world’s only going to half end.

    In actual fact, the only ‘world’ that’s ending is that of the super-remunerated stuffed shirts that suck the taxes confiscated from working people like leeches for no nett benefit to anybody except themselves.

    I suspect though that these useless slobs will find another little corner somewhere in the massive state funded Leviathan into which they can bury their filthy snout.

  4. egg_

    The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) cut spending on its core climate change activities by 39%* over the past three years, figures show.

    Things are getting a little “chilly” for the CAGW crowd?

    *Per annum? ;)

  5. The Hunted Mind

    The only way this is ok is if those officials are all spies.

  6. Elwood

    There’s far more chance they find the Loch Ness Monster than “sign a global climate deal in Paris next year”. Any money they spent on Climate Diplomacy was wasted.

  7. .Dr.Sir Fred Lenin

    Why dont the UK defund all gerbil worming funding mand use the money to get rid of islamofascists and criminal illegal migrants? Now that would be money well spent. If it works perhaps we could elect a government with the guts to emulate them!

  8. cohenite

    Or, in this case, after reading “…the government ‘has cut its capacity to get a better deal for the world in half’”, the world’s only going to half end.

    One is put in mind of what Jay Leno said about the predictions of AGW;

    “According to a new U.N. report, the global warming outlook is much worse than originally predicted. Which is pretty bad when they originally predicted it would destroy the planet.”

    The idiots of AGW have outbid themselves so much with doom and gloom that like the Worm Ouroboros their heads are now firmly up their arse.

  9. H B Bear

    The gig is up.

    Keep an eye on production levels of koala suit onesies.

  10. Myrddin Seren

    The subject will become increasingly relevant as countries consider the emissions cuts they can bring to climate talks in Paris next year …….

    Hope all those unemployed ‘yoof’ from the No Go Zone banlieues are suitably revved up about some perceived slight or insult come the ‘climate’ talks next year.

    I would pay to see Anna Rose and the Youth Climateers and their numerous fellow traveller NGO front groups that will be parading around Paris pretending to be a grass roots movement run smack dab in to the Car-b-que jihad.

  11. Rob

    If they weren’t wasting so much money on renewables, they could probably afford to keep the “climate diplomats”.

    This is a retrograde step, Britain should be increasing its number of public servants in China. If it could move all its non essential public servants there, think of how much it would reduce its carbon footprint.

  12. Empire

    Spending on “energy/resource security” projects increased by 11% at the same time as “climate change” projects faced a 39% cut.

    This does sound promising. It suggests the Cult of Thermageddon wrongologist conflation of carbon dioxide emissions and energy security has been rejected. A small victory for the rational mind and perhaps, UK energy consumers.

    With a reduced budget, the FCO will be limited in efforts to influence other countries ahead of formal negotiations.

    Super Heavy Wrong. The UK will be much better placed to influence other countries to reject The Cult of Thermageddon, because they now eat their own food.

    “That will encourage the foreign office, which has never fully grasped the importance of the issuedrunk the KoolAid, to keep downgrading it.”

    Sanity prevails. Marvellous.

  13. Token

    20 shiny bums measuring air pollution in Beijing?! WTF?!? The madness of nations. I dearly hope that we (Australia) don’t match that level of idiocy. Although I doubt it.

    You can bet some of them will be in Chengde & Chongqing which have air which makes Beijing seem good.
    They probably were organising the mass import of the eco-crucifixes and bird frying panels.

  14. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Dear me. Almost too much good news for one day.
    Better get back to the Jihaddists. No good news there yet.

  15. manalive

    The thing is to deny the deniers any validation; like the IPCC, to ever so gradually tactically withdraw and hope no-one notices.
    Fortunately the internet records everything, virtually forever.

  16. Andrew

    Maybe they listened to Sen Con-job and Flim Flammery telling us that China is a World Leader in Green Energy and was Committed to Carbon Pricing. So there was no more work required. They’re already the greenest place on earth, leaving us waaaaay behind in their Milnsian Utopia. Any further diplomatic action would be preaching to the converted.

  17. outsider

    ‘In one sense they’re no different to a government welfare program.’
    Exactly that – the APS is a giant welfare program.

    The AGWers now need to figure out how to manage the decline in whatever shred of cred they retain until it gracefully reaches zero.

  18. Dave Wane

    At last we see some encouraging signs from the “very warmist” Cameron Government. Hopefully David Cameron will also begin to see the folly in this very expensive climate hobby.

  19. Squirrel

    Well hurrah! From the outset, the whole thing has looked like a wonderfully self-serving exercise for the (relatively) post-industrial Brits and their European confrere – as much to do with trade and economic advantage as anything. Perhaps someone has shrewdly decided that it’s gone a bit too far and is now starting to be counter-productive for the UK.

  20. entropy

    20 working on climate change in the Beijing office? You can bet most were seconded from MI6 and some if them are 00.

  21. These areas that are noticeable advocacy points for pushing Climate Change as a reason for wholesale transformation can be safely cut now that creating false beliefs about Climate Change and computer modelling with software and virtual immersion games is to be such a central part of K-12 education going forward. Last week I nailed down the global coordination in this regard described in detail at the 2012 Helsinki Global Education Leaders Program. Australia was actively involved via the co-chair Tony MacKay.

    Before that was the simultaneous publication in 1993 in the UK, Canada, and US of the still relevant global blueprint Education for the Twenty-First Century. It also laid out the attendant transformation of the economic system that is the actual end game of this new vision of education. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/wider-world-is-primary-not-the-stifling-prison-of-the-instantaneous-present/ explains the vision, end game, and ties to a vision of global politics supposedly grounded in humane governance.

    In other words, it’s the still relevant blueprint from the 80s and 90s of what is really being planned for 2015.

  22. So now the truth comes out.
    The international drive towards some kind of climate change global agreement has been bankrolled by the British.

    Unbeknownst to the British public or anyone else.

    I note that they cut the budget by 39%. They haven’t eliminated it, and they haven’t even halved it.

  23. Zatara

    …. influence other countries’ positions on climate action in the run-up to the global deal expected in 2015

    Rolling the dice that obama can manage a lame-duck signature.

    One slight problem, the Senate has to buy off on international agreements in the US and the Dems are going to be a rare, but still worthless, commodity in the US Senate after Nov 2014.

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