#36 Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies

October 1, 2009
by phil
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A pre-requisite for making the transition to a clean energy future is to switch subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy projects. If that’s the case, why are we still bank-rolling dirty energy projects in developing countries?

World Bank lending for fossil fuels rose by 94% between 2007 & 2008 to over $3 billion which far outweighs the $476 million they gave to “new renewables” energy projects. World Bank lending for coal in particular rose 256% from 2007 to 2008. This contradicts the Bank’s own rhetoric in their “World Development Report” published in September that advises against “locking the world into high-carbon infrastructure”.

Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International has been campaigning for the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies for many years. He says that if the G20 leaders were serious about their Pittsburgh commitment to phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels, they could end World Bank and Export Credit Agency support at the stroke of a pen. However, rather than putting their own house in order first, there is a danger that the G20 could choose to focus on the the subsidies that developing countries use to make energy services affordable for the poor. If that’s the case, we still have a job to do in holding the G20 to account.


World Bank Unfit to Manage Climate Funds (142 organisations)
The G77+China favour climate funds under the UNFCCC

G20 Leaders’ Statement: The Pittsburgh Summit – see paras 29&30 (25 Sept)


Steve Kretzmann weighs up Obama’s proposal to end fossil fuel subsidies (Grist, 16 Sept)


Redirecting Public Subsidies for Fossil Fuels in and from Annex 1 Countries (OCI, 28 May)


World Bank spends billions on coal-fired power stations (The Times, 16 Sept)


World Bank lending for coal up 256%


World Bank Group Fossil Fuel Financing 2004-2008 (OCI et al, —


Dirty is the new clean –

A Critique of the World Bank’s Strategic Framework for Development and Climate Change (SEEN, Oct 2008)


US pushes G20 to cut fossil fuel subsidies (Agence France, 23 Sept)


Fossil fuel subsidies dwarf clean energy subsidies (Grist, 23 Sept)


An idea whose time has come (Financial Times leader, 24 Sept)


Ex BP Chief says axe fossil fuel hand outs (Financial Times, 2 November 2008)


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