STOP FUNDING FOSSILS

Our Stop Funding Fossils program uses critical analysis and strategic organizing to end the vast quantities of government support flowing to the fossil fuel industry and accelerate the clean energy transition.
Public finance and subsidies for fossil fuels play a key role in driving oil, gas, and coal production. Climate leadership means not wasting another cent of public money on the industries that are causing the problem.

OVERVIEW OF WORK

Our research shows that G20 governments spend $444 billion per year propping up oil, gas, and coal production, while the G20’s taxpayer-backed public finance institutions provide nearly 4 times more public finance to fossil fuels than to clean, renewable energy.

These massive subsidies play a key role in expanding oil and gas production and locking in existing fossil fuels: recent analysis finds that half of the new oil fields being drilled in the US would have remained undrilled if not for substantial subsidies; at the same time, public finance for fossil fuels de-risks capital-intensive megaprojects, like massive coal plants in Southeast Asia, few of which would proceed without government backing. And as oil, gas, and coal producers face increasing competition from renewable energy, instead of simply reducing fossil fuel production, they exert their political influence to get more handouts to keep extracting.

Instead of spending scarce public resources on the fossil fuel industry, our work challenges public institutions to scale up their support for distributed renewable energy solutions that can deliver energy access quickly and at least cost in many developing countries: today, support for these solutions makes up only a tiny fraction of all public finance for energy.

We know from the work of our Energy Transitions and Futures program that already-producing oilfields, gasfields, and coal mines hold enough carbon to take the world well beyond 1.5°C of warming and up to 2°C. This means that governments who’ve signed up to the Paris Agreement (that’s nearly everybody) shouldn’t spend another cent of public money on fossil fuels if they take their commitment seriously. We call on them to stop funding fossils.

LATEST PROGRAM POSTS

Canada’s export bank, Export Development Canada (EDC), already provides on average nearly fourteen billion dollars in support to oil and gas companies each year. As a result, Canada ranks second highest among G20 countries in public finance for fossil fuels. Now the federal government is using EDC to channel even more support to the oil and gas sector, which has been intensely lobbying the government for a bailout package of up to $30 billion.

Decisions taken in response to the COVID-19 crisis today will lock in the world’s development patterns for decades. With policy decisions made on a daily basis, information about how public money is being spent can be hard to follow. That is why a consortium of 14 expert organizations came together to track energy-specific responses by G20 governments.

LATEST PROGRAM RESEARCH

Canada’s export bank, Export Development Canada (EDC), already provides on average nearly fourteen billion dollars in support to oil and gas companies each year. As a result, Canada ranks second highest among G20 countries in public finance for fossil fuels. Now the federal government is using EDC to channel even more support to the oil and gas sector, which has been intensely lobbying the government for a bailout package of up to $30 billion.

Communities in Africa have generally contributed the least to climate change, been undermined the most by international trade and finance policies, and have a right to better international support for distributed renewable energy. In order to reach universal energy access before the 2030 target set by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, international public finance institutions have an urgent responsibility to provide more funding and better financial transparency and tracking for distributed renewable energy. Additionally, they have a responsibility to foster local participation in and ownership of distributed renewable energy initiatives. This briefing provides recommendations for how international public finance institutions