Hiding fossil fuel subsidies under clean energy targets?

(EurActiv, 9 Feb 2021) To safeguard climate targets’ integrity against greenwashing measures, transparent rules should be in place, write Vlasios Oikonomou and Haris Doukas.

Vlasios Oikonomou is the managing director at the Institute for European Energy and Climate Policy in the Netherlands. Haris Doukas is an associate professor of energy and climate policy at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece.

Natural gas is composed of 70-90% methane, a potent greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. The general public perceives natural gas as less harmful than other fossil fuels like oil or coal.

Based on a recent experiment in the US, the American public has very different feelings about and associations to “natural gas” than they do to “methane” even though natural gas is composed primarily of methane.

“Methane” and “methane gas” generate much stronger negative feelings and associations to pollution than does “natural gas”. This shows the importance of the term used to communicate about this fossil fuel.

But, what about the respective policies that promote it? Is there a risk that policies promoting fossil fuels are hidden under ambitious national energy and climate targets?

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EurActiv, 9 Feb 2021: Hiding fossil fuel subsidies under clean energy targets?