Over the last two years, £2 million of UK state funding that was earmarked as developmental aid was spent to facilitate fracking at 16 plants in China, Brazil, Mexico, and India.
The UK claims to be devoted to removing “barriers to economic growth in order to reduce poverty … and [support] the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.” Other government departments have also contributed to the effort to promote UK fracking know-how abroad, particularly BP. In the UK, British fracking has met enormous criticism from environmental advocacy groups.
The problem with this investment is not merely that it goes against the principle of prioritising the development of renewables rather than fossil fuels in the developing world, but also that fracking is a water-intensive technology.
China has one of the largest shale gas reserves in the world but is also faced with acute water shortages in many parts of the country. Commenting on the report, the UK foreign office claims that British aid “is creating a safer, healthier and more prosperous world and is in the UK’s interest.”