Group of non-G20 countries push for fossil fuel subsidies reform

On Friday (April 17), a communiqué (pdf) was presented from the Friends of the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform, a group of eight non-G20 countries, urging to address the issue of fossil fuel subsidies worldwide.

The standpoint was presented at the yearly climate ministerial of the 2015 Spring Meetings organized by the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At the summit 42 finance and development ministers met with the heads of the UN, WBG and IMF, together with business and investment leaders, discussing strategies for financing the global transition to a low-carbon economy, WBG reported.

The countries asked to re-think fossil fuel subsidies on a global scale, highlighting the shortcomings of the existing situation. The communiqué calls for the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies in the lead-up to the COP21 set in Paris in December 2015. Subsidy reform is beneficial both environmentally and economically, as it would foster sustainable development and would contribute to meeting national and international environmental targets, they said in a press release (pdf).

According to the IEA, in 2013 more than $548 billion was spent on fossil fuel subsidies worldwide, four times the financial support given to renewable energy ($121 billion). See the IISD infographic on fossil fuel subsidies below.

IISD infographic on fossil fuel subsidies


Removal of harmful subsidies would reduce global GHG emission by 6 to 13 percent by 2050, they claim.

Friends of the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform is a group composed by Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. The communiqué was also endorsed by France, who expressed its support to the group’s activity, RFI reported.

“It is time to stop talking about removing fossil fuel subsidies and to actually move on that”, said Rachel Kyte, WBG Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change, in a video statement on the WBG website. CEOs in the meeting agreed that this is a good time for such reform due to the historic low of oil price, she said.

(Image: Jim Yong Kim, Rachel Kyle and Christine Lagarde during the climate ministerial at the 2015 Spring Meetings, held in Washington, D.C., April 17, 2015. Photo credit: IMF/Flickr)