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Climate change scheme to boost developing countries

Two public-private partnership projects which aim to stimulate investment in renewable energy schemes in Africa and Asia have been announced by International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell.

Governments and businesses have to "get on with the job" of tackling global warming across the world, and not be paralysed into inaction amid efforts to secure a global deal on the issue,  Mitchell said.

The Government hopes grants for the new schemes could lead to millions of pounds being channelled into renewable energyprogrammes in developing countries.

The scheme in Asia is targeting renewable energy and energy efficiency investments, and the Department for International Development (DfID) said initial modelling of the fund could secure £9 of private investment for every £1 put in by the UK Government.

DfID estimates that, over 25 years, the project could generate 5GW of renewable energy, create 60,000 jobs and save 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The department also said a fund for Africa to develop large-scale renewable schemes, such as hydropower, solar farms and wind farms, could generate up to 500MW of electricity a year - providing enough energy for four million rural households.

 Mitchell also announced a new "climate advocacy" fund to provide the poorest and most vulnerable countries with legal, technical and logistical support at climate negotiations.

He told delegates at an event hosted by the Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) that a failure to tackle climate change would undermine development.

In his first major speech on the issue, he added: "It is possible to tackle climate change while also addressing development.

"It's just that it's a different sort of development, one that marries good development outcomes with low-carbon, climate-resilient growth."

He added: "When it comes to tackling climate change across the world, we have to get on with the job.At the same time as working tirelessly towards a global deal, we must not be paralysed into inaction on the ground.

"The private sector is certainly not waiting. Decisions are being made every day on where to locate, on investments and on insurance premiums. These decisions are based on the business reality of climate change."

 Mitchell claimed the world was on the threshold of a new industrial, agricultural and technological revolution, and said the UK was helping poor countries take steps to cope with climate change and develop through "green" growth.

He added: "It's time that all of us - governments, civil society, private sector and individuals - put our shoulders to the wheel and get on with the job.

"Only then can we secure a future for this planet and a better, safer, more prosperous life for all who live on it."

 Mitchell was speaking ahead of the UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, which begin in less than a fortnight.

They are likely to be dominated by issues of finance - including how to generate money to help poorer countries cope with the impacts of climate change and reduce their emissions while developing.

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