Tax haven money could power half the world with renewable energy

Campaign group Friends of the Earth has issued a "wake-up call" for the G20 leaders with a new report revealing that the money hidden in tax havens could be enough to power half of the world using 100% renewable sources by 2030.

Extra investment of around $507bn (£381bn) a year would be needed to power to power Africa, Latin America and much of Asia with 100% renewable energy – “well below” the estimates of around $600bn (£450bn) of Government revenue that is lost worldwide by the use of tax avoidance ‘havens’, the campaign group claims.

After a week which saw tech giant Apple ordered to repay Ireland €13bn in back taxes – a landmark ruling for tax havens – Friends of the Earth says the dual issues of climate change and corporate tax avoidance should be made top priority at the G20 summit which takes place in China this week.

Spokesperson for the campaign group, Sam Cossar-Gilbert, said: “This report is a wake-up call for the G20 to stop talking and start acting. The finance to bring about an Energy Revolution exists, it is hidden in tax havens, but the political will to drive the transformation is shockingly absent.

“Each year the climate crisis is getting worse. Without urgent action we will see greater hunger, drought, floods, and weather extremes, as well as mass extinctions and the forced migration of millions of people.”

Friends of the Earth climate justice and energy coordinator Dipti Bhatnagar argued that it is a “gross injustice” that the world’s richest multinational corporations and individuals “do not pay their fair share of taxes and continue to pollute without limit”.

“We must stop tax avoidance and use that money for building sustainable and just societies. An Energy Revolution is possible, but we must fight for it,” she said.

“Climate change is a symptom of our broken system. The energy transformation involves not just switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but also challenging the corporate power and greed that has led to this crisis.”

Renewables revolution

In its report, the campaign group state a global renewable energy revolution is “well within reach” if leaders take the “necessary pioneering steps” to make the 100% renewable future a reality.

This is the latest in a series of calls for G20 members to focus on low-carbon economy commitments through climate action.

A recent report by Climate Transparency found that the G20’s carbon footprint currently accounts for as much as 75% of global emissions. The initiative said “rapid climate action” must be taken to harness its global carbon footprint.

And late last week, London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined other megacity mayors from across the world to call for national leaders to take urgent action on climate change, and to rapidly confirm the ratification of the upcoming Paris Agreement.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) revealed earlier this year that renewable use was increasing at a record pace globally, showing an 8.3% increase from 2014-2015 due mainly to a large cuts in renewable installation costs globally.

Alex Baldwin

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