John Christensen ■ Civil society calls on G20 finance ministers to end fossil fuel subsidies









G20 finance ministers will be meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on 4th and 5th September 2015, under the Turkish G20 presidency.  In a letter to finance ministers, TJN and over sixty other civil society organisations call upon them to meet their commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and support measures that will promote a global climate deal at the forthcoming UN FCCC COP21 summit in Paris, France this December.

Specifically, the letter calls on G20 finance ministers to:

1.  Implement the G20 commitment to end inefficient fossil fuel subsidies;

2. Agree to end public subsidies for coal;

3.  Proceed with delivering on climate finance needs.

The G20 countries spend an estimated $88 billion per year of public money to support exploration for new fossil fuel reserves.  At the same time the IMF estimates that local pollution from fossil fuel combustion will inflict costs exceeding $2.7 trillion in 2015, with much of that cost arising from coal combustion in G20 countries.

Fossil fuel subsidies cause huge distortions to energy markets.  Public funding of fossil fuel combustion reduces incentives for energy suppliers to diversify towards renewable forms of energy.  The failure to impose a cost on the damage caused by fossil fuel combustion allows energy suppliers to reap huge profits without paying for the resultant harm.

We will be writing further on this subject in a forthcoming edition of Tax Justice Focus, since we feel that these fiscal distortions play a major part in delaying the crucial transition to a less fossil fuel dependent economy.

Read the joint letter to G20 finance ministers

A selection of tweets to use on 4th and 5th September:


  • #G20 countries spend $88 billion/yr in public money to find new fossil fuels. How would you spend $88 billion?

  • Dear #G20, looking for ways to fund climate action? Cut fossil fuel subsidies. Sincerely, the world. #StopFundingFossils

  • FACT: #G20 countries are still spending BILLIONS more looking for fossil fuels than they are on climate finance. #KeepItInTheGround




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