September 5, 2016

Alex Doukas, alex [at] priceofoil [dot] org

G20 leaders fail to act on fossil fuel subsidies, undermining Paris climate goals

In response to the statements on fossil fuel subsidies in the G20 Leaders’ Communique, which fail to establish a deadline for the phase out of subsidies, Oil Change International has released the following statement from Senior Campaigner Alex Doukas:

“On China’s watch, G20 leaders have again failed to set a deadline to end fossil fuel subsidies, despite first agreeing to do so in 2009. Time is running out. Every dollar wasted on fossil fuel subsidies pushes us closer to climate disaster and makes the transition to clean energy more difficult. As more governments take the important step of ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change, they must stop giving handouts to big polluters, which undermine the spirit and the letter of the Paris deal.

It has been seven years since the G20 first committed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, yet we’ve seen very little progress. The world needs G20 leaders to set a 2020 deadline to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, and it’s up to Germany, the next G20 host, to make sure it happens. If German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to maintain her reputation as a climate champion through next year’s G20 presidency, she must lead the way in securing a strong commitment from world leaders to end all fossil fuel subsidies by 2020.

It’s clear people want action. This year, investors, major insurance companies, and hundreds of civil society organizations all called on the G20 to set an ambitious 2020 deadline to end fossil fuel subsidies.  We agree with the recent Bloomberg View editorial that called fossil fuel subsidies the world’s dumbest policy. The whole world is telling G20 leaders it’s time to stop funding fossils.”


Further background:

  • G20 governments originally pledged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies in 2009.
  • In June, G7 leaders urged all countries to phase out fossil fuel subsidies no later than 2025.
  • Empty Promises,” a report launched last year by Oil Change International and the Overseas Development Institute, found that subsidies from G20 governments to fossil fuel production alone (not including subsidies to consumers) averaged $444 billion annually between 2013 and 2014.
  • On August 30, major insurers with $1.2 trillion in assets under management released a statement calling on G20 leaders to commit to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020.
  • In June, more than 200 civil society groups from around the world released a statement calling on G20 leaders to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2020.
  • Last week, the Bloomberg View editorial board called fossil fuel subsidies “the world’s dumbest policy” in their editorial.