World leaders urged to turn off the tap on fossil fuel subsidies

In the immediate aftermath of major climate announcements at the United Nations this week, more than 200 civil society organizations from dozens of countries are calling for an end to public funding for fossil fuels.

On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country would cut funding for coal-fired power plants abroad, while U.S. President Joe Biden said his nation would double financial aid to other countries to support your transition to a cleaner economy.

The letter, signed by groups such as the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Oil Change International, Climate Action Network International and others, refers to the landmark zero net report from the International Energy Agency that says whether the world is going to keep Warming to the Paris Agreement target of as close to 1.5 C as possible, there is no room for any new coal, oil or gas projects, and existing production must be reduced rapidly.

“One of the levers that allows production to increase is government funding, and that is why this (letter) calls for an end to international support for all fossil fuels,” said IISD policy adviser Vanessa Corkal.

Annually, the G20 countries provide $ 77 billion in fossil fuel subsidies, compared to $ 28 billion for clean energy, the letter says. On average, Export and Development Canada (EDC) injects more than $ 13 billion annually into the fossil fuel industry, but the money flows from the Business Development Bank of Canada, provincial governments, and other agencies as well.

EDC is “the main culprit at the federal level and, interestingly, the incoming Liberal government includes on (its) platform a plan to phase out public funding of the fossil fuel sector, including from Crown corporations like EDC,” Corkal said.

“We will work very hard (to make sure) that is more than just developing a plan … (because) as science makes clear, this cannot be something we phase out until 2050, it must end sooner than later.”

The letter notes that the UK, the European Investment Bank, the Dutch development bank FMO and the French Development Agency have all adopted policies to curb fossil fuel financing, and calls on the UK to work towards a joint international commitment to end public financing of fossil fuels. fuels at the next COP26.

Given that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned, at least in part, to end public funding for fossil fuels, COP26 could be the first major test of his climate commitments in his third term.

The United Nations conference on climate change, which has been held since 1995, also known as COP, short for Conference of the Parties, brings countries together to negotiate agreements to reduce global warming. This year, COP26 will take place at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12.

“Canada is already really known for how huge its oil and gas industry is,” said Bronwen Tucker, global public finance analyst at Oil Change International.

“There will definitely be a transition, that part is inevitable, it will just depend on how fast and who wins and loses,” says @bronwentucker with @priceofoil. #Cdnpoli #UNGA # COP26

Tucker stressed the need to responsibly manage the decline of the fossil fuel sector.

“There will definitely be a transition, that part is inevitable, it just depends on how fast and who wins and loses. And without planning, it will be the workers and the communities who lose out, ”he said.

Fossil fuel financing and financing to support a net zero economy are expected to be the main themes of COP26.

John Woodside / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada National Observer

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