Get a FREE Issue of Earth Island Journal
Sign up for our no-risk offer today.

Go Back: Home > Earth Island Journal > Latest News > Post and Comments

Latest News

G20 Governments Give Oil Companies $100 Billion a Year in Subsidies

On Sunday, the final day of the G20 Summit, the world's leaders could either have followed through on the commitments made at the Pittsburgh summit and phase out fossil fuel subsidies or, as leaked reports suggested, take a step back and water down the plan by bringing voluntary and home-grown options to the table.

Although language such as “voluntary” and ”member-specific approaches” was removed from the day’s proceedings, and a new milestone—review of implementation plans at the next G20 Summit, in Seoul, Korea—was added to the group’s commitments, activists still feel the original commitments have been watered down.

The document was strengthened thanks to pressure from US President Barrack Obama, according to a Reuter’s report, but Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International said that despite some positive steps, the original commitments have nonetheless been weakened.

“The words voluntary are gone now, but they have achieved the same result by allowing each country to phase out whatever they feel like phasing out,” he said.

Kretzmann also said the new plan calls for the phasing out of "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies. Here’s the catch: Each country will be able to define “inefficient” as they see fit.

“There are six countries in the G20 that are going to claim they have no inefficient fossil fuel subsidies at all,” Kretzmann said. “It is quite laughable.”

According to Kretzmann, the United States will commit to eliminating $3.6 billion in subsidies (already in the current budget), while Japan and Australia apparently have absolutely no inefficient fossil fuel subsidies at all.

"The terrible impacts of the Gulf oil disaster highlight the insanity of giving billions of taxpayers' dollars to subsidize dirty oil and coal,” said Mark Fried of Oxfam Canada. “Sadly, what is obvious to everyone else does not seem obvious to world leaders."

According to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 would result in a dramatic 10 per cent drop in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The OECD estimated recently that subsidies to the companies producing oil, gas, and coal are worth approximately US$100 billion a year.






Ron Johnson
Is based in Toronto, Canada, where he is an editor for Post City magazines and contributes to The Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, The National Post and the London Business Times.

Email this post to a friend.

Write to the editor about this post.

Subscribe Today
cover thumbnail EIJ cover thumbnail EIJ cover thumbnail EIJ cover thumbnail EIJFour issues of the award-winning
Earth Island Journal for only $10

 

Comments

And when you do give them BIG subsidies, they are even more reckless.

See >>
http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/oil-and-gas/news-natural-gas-it-answer-and-what-cost


Not selling anything, just info.

By babsinva on Mon, August 23, 2010 at 11:51 am

Leave a comment

Comments Policy

Remember my personal information?

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

View Posts by Date View Posts by Author

Subscribe
Today

Four issues for just
$10 a year.

cover thumbnail EIJ

Join Now!

 

0.1811