Fossil fuel subsidies outstrip climate aid fivefold

November 20, 2013 12:48 PM

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Fossil fuel subsidies paid by industrial nations are more than five times the climate aid provided to poorer nations that need funds to reduce emissions and adapt to global warming, a study showed.

Industrialized countries paid $58.7 billion in 2011 in subsidies to the oil, coal and natural gas industries and to consumers of the fuels. That compares with climate aid averaging $11.7 billion a year from 2010 to 2012, the Washington-based campaign group Oil Change International said today in a report released in Warsaw.

Eliminating the subsidies would help countries cut the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming and provide funds to help poor nations cope with higher temperatures. Envoys at United Nations climate talks in the Polish capital intend to craft a new agreement by 2015. At the same time, richer countries are trying to meet a pledge to provide $100 billion a year in climate aid by 2020.

“The world is in a deep hole with climate change, and the first thing to do in a hole is to stop digging,” Stephen Kretzmann, the founder of Oil Change International, said in an e-mail. “Governments are not only still digging, they’re still spending at least five times more in taxpayer support to dig more than they are to climb out.”

Today’s report used the same figure for fossil fuel subsidies from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as it did in a similar study last year, while lifting the estimate of climate aid from $11.2 billion.


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