UK revealed as EU champion of fossil fuel subsidies

(EurActiv, 14 Jan 2019) The United Kingdom spends the most in the EU on subsidising fossil fuels, according to a new report by the European Commission, which also found that EU-wide payments have failed to decrease despite the bloc’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In 2016, the UK pumped more than €12 billion into fossil fuel support, closely followed by Germany, France, Italy and Spain. However, those countries actually then spent more on renewable energies like wind and solar than on coal, gas and oil.

Fossil fuels enjoyed an estimated €55 billion in public funding across the EU, with the energy sector the biggest recipient, followed by the residential sector, industry and transport.

According to the Commission’s report, which used Eurostat data to reach its conclusions, payments remained “roughly stable across sectors […] implying that EU and national policies might need to be reinforced to phase out such subsidies”.

But fossil fuels also provided EU28 nations and Norway more than €400 billion in gas and oil taxation in 2017, according to a report by the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers.

G20 countries pledged in 2009 to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”, while 2015’s Paris Agreement commits its signatories to hold global warming to well below two degrees Celsius through significant greenhouse emission cuts.

The EU’s recent 2050 climate strategy was the first major plan of its kind to address the Paris deal and it targets net-zero emission levels.

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EurActiv, 14 Jan 2019: UK revealed as EU champion of fossil fuel subsidies