UK fossil fuel support for poorer counties is “damaging the coherence of the Government’s approach to combating climate change”, MPs have heard.
SNP environment spokeswoman Deirdre Brock raised concerns that the Department for International Trade could be undermining the work of other Government departments.
MPs also heard claims that Donald Trump believes “global warming was created by and for the Chinese”, with fears this could affect the US’s commitment to taking action on climate change.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Brock said: “While DfID has a clear strategy for promoting low-carbon development in low-income countries, fossil fuels make up a shocking 99.4% of the UK Export Finance’s energy support to low and middle-income countries in the last financial year.
She asked whether the department’s spending is “damaging the coherence of the Government’s approach to combating climate change”.
Trade Minister George Hollingbery said: “The UK has an enviable record of success in de-carbonisation.”
He added: “Our trade policy is focused absolutely on ensuring that our exporters are set up to spread green technology around the world.”
He said that, in the short-term “some fossil fuel investments will be made”, but that these will “transform” into low-carbon enterprises.
Liberal Democrat international trade spokesman Tom Brake said: “The President of the United States has said that the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”
He asked how this related to the UK Government’s stance on climate change and trade policy.
Mr Hollingbery replied: “We are, of course, signatories to the Paris Agreement. I recognise that the President of the United States has said they are going to withdraw from that but, of course, they have currently not done so.
“Where it is possible to have chapters in our FTAs (free trade agreements) on climate change and on our climate change policies, we will do so. Where not, we have to understand that we can open doors to dialogue through those trade deals.”