G20 stalls on fossil fuel subsidies despite calls for climate action

(Eco Business, 2 Jul 2019) As the world’s largest economies just concluded this year’s meeting in Japan, they demonstrated little appetite for action to stop fossil fuels subsidies.

As G20 countries meet for the group’s annual summit in Osaka, the world’s leading economies are failing to phase out wasteful fossil fuel subsidies and host Japan is bowing to US pressure to remove references to emissions in the draft communiqué.

Ten years ago the G20 pledged to “phase out and rationalise” fossil fuel subsidies yet the cost increased from US$75 billion in 2007 to US$147 billion in 2016, the last year that data is available for the entire group.

“Since 2009, the G20 is limited to copying and pasting the same statement every year in its annual document, stating that fossil fuel subsidies are inefficient and hinder the energy transition. But that’s not enough,” said Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis, senior advisor on climate policy for the Environment and Natural Resources Foundation (FARN).

Size and importance 

The G20 economies represent more than 80 per cent of global GDP and three quarters of global trade. The G20 is also responsible for 79 per cent of global emissions so it has a major role in fulfilling the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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Eco Business, 2 Jul 2019: G20 stalls on fossil fuel subsidies despite calls for climate action