G20 faces 600,000-strong call to dump fossil fuel subsidies

Almost 600,000 people have signed a petition calling on G20 Governments to end fossil fuel subsidies and reallocate the funds towards helping poor countries deal with climate change.

The petition, hosted by campaign group Avaaz, comes just days after a report revealed that G20 Governments collectively handed out $452bn in subsidies for fossil fuels in both 2013 and 2014 – four times the amount allocated globally for renewables.

Avaaz campaign director Alex Wilks said: “When it comes to action on eliminating dirty fossil fuel funding, the G20 is like a drunk at a wedding, it is charming and enthusiastic at night then can’t remember a thing the next day.

“With two weeks to go to the Paris climate summit, leaders need to switch dirty billions from fossil fuels and need to support vulnerable communities facing climate change devastation.” 

The G20 pledged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies in 2009.

Action plan

The public call for action was backed up by C20 Sustainability Working Group which represents the agenda of over 500 civil society organisations.

The Working Group called on the G20 – whose heads of state are currently meeting in Turkey – to “tell the world how they plan to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 or risk being seen as dragging its feet”.

WWF’s global climate and energy initiative lead Samantha Smith said: “With the world about to meet in Paris to come to agreement on climate, we need to see the G20 make good on its promise and provide a clear plan for ending inefficient fossil fuel subsidies in the final G20 communique.

“Fossil fuel subsidies aren’t just bad for the climate, they also ignore the rising health costs of air pollution, the falling returns on fossil fuel exploration, and the technological innovation which makes low-carbon energy systems the smart investment choice.”

Mind the gap

The calls for an end to fossil fuel subsidies comes at the same time as new analysis from Climate Action Tracker, which warned that current G20 INDC’s fall way short of necessary levels.

The G20, which constitutes more than 80% of global emissions, is reportedly responsible for an enormous emissions gap – even bigger than the global gap, which could see the planet on track for up to three degrees warming.

“This weekend the G20 has an opportunity – and responsibility – to collectively act to close this gap,”  said Dr Niklas Höhne from the NewClimate Institute. 

Brad Allen

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie