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Foreign Policy Foreign Policy

Work to prevent catastrophic environmental degradation

Last updated: 12:54pm 5 November 2019

We will work […] to prevent catastrophic environmental degradation.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.39

Our verdict

In February 2019, a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research argued that “human impacts on the environment have reached a critical stage” and we are in “the age of environmental breakdown”. This policy promises to address those issues. It sits under the heading Global Britain in the manifesto, and is part of a paragraph on ways to use the overseas aid budget, so we’re looking for action to prevent environmental degradation outside of our borders.

In April 2019, a report by the International Development Committee looked at the use of UK aid for combating climate change and made various recommendations. In response, the government agreed with most of the recommendations and committed to a cross-departmental update of its approach.

In September 2019, the Prime Minister announced a doubling of UK spending on International Climate Finance (ICF). ICF is development aid money which is used to support developing countries to tackle climate change.

It’s important to note that global actors such as the United Nations point to the inadequacy of the current environmental rule of law, and argue, for example, that the scientific consensus on global warming demands a more radical approach both at home and abroad.

However, in spite of ongoing challenges, the government has proceeded with investment and work to prevent catastrophic environmental degradation and can point to positive outcomes. This policy is ‘done’.

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