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

This increases the number of signatories to 30 and the annual average of potential public finance shifted out of fossil fuels and into clean energy to at least USD 23.6 billion per year. This equals 37% of annual public finance for fossil fuels provided by G20 countries and the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) between 2018 and 2020. 

Last Thursday on November 4, 25 countries and institutions committed to end international public finance for unabated oil, gas, and coal by the end of 2022 at the United Nations climate conference in Scotland (COP26). Today, the Netherlands has confirmed that it will also join the initiative.

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LATEST PROGRAM RESEARCH

The time has come for ambitious E3F action, not just ambitious words. We do not want to see a year of vague compromises and exceptions that water the commitment down and lead to continued support for fossil fuels, such as gas - as this not only puts the climate at risks, it also locks countries in the south into fossil dependence with all the economic risks that come along.