It seems at least once a year someone tries to claim that renewable energy is receiving more subsidies than clean energy like wind and solar power. These generally seem to be narrow approaches that don’t account for everything. On the other hand organizations like Climate Change International and the Climate Action Network, which just introduced new analysis that shows that leading countries are spending 40 times more subsidizing fossil fuels than they are on clean energy.
The organizations released the report on Dec. 3 as the UN COP21 climate debates continued. “The analysis shows that the Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States account for some $80 billion per year in public support for fossil fuels, while their total pledges to the Green Climate Fund only amount to $2 billion per year,” the report stated.
The world’s largest economies provide substantially more to fossil fuels than they do to the Green Climate Fund. It found Australia provides more than 113 times more in subsidies to fossil fuel producers than Green Climate Fund commitments each year; Canada, 79 times more; Japan, 53 times more; the UK, 48 times more; Italy, 42 times more; the US, 32 times more; Germany, 21 times more; and France, 6 times more subsidies to fossil fuel producers than contributions to the Green Climate Fund.
“Though rich countries are crying poor when it comes to what they can offer on climate finance, we already know where to find billions of dollars that could be used to support climate action and adaptation to climate impacts in poor countries: we can shift the hundreds of billions of dollars in public support for fossil fuels and use it to support climate action,” said Alex Doukas, senior campaigner for Oil Change International.
Doukas and activists demonstrated in Paris on Fri. Dec. 4. “Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies in rich countries could be a massive double win. It would stop a huge waste of public money that’s driving the climate crisis, while at the same time freeing up money that can help poor countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and make the shift to renewable energy,” Doukas stated.
In addition to the subsidies from G7 countries Oil Change International and the Overseas Development Institute recently produced a report looking at the G20 countries’ contributions to fossil fuel vs. renewable energy subsidies. That report that found G20 countries annually gave $452 billion in public support for fossil fuels while only $121 billion to renewables annually.
While fossil fuel subsidies need to be reduced, doing so immediately would cause a lot of pandemonium and pricing shocks throughout the world. On the other hand, they can be reduced at a more rapid pace while subsidies to clean energy forms can be increased, which would help reduce costs for renewable energy, making it more attractive and fossil fuels less attractive.Tweet