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G20 beefs up pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies
By: drg0dOwnCountry , 1:17 PM GMT on June 28, 2010
US intervenes to secure tougher commitment to phasing out of "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies
World leaders gathered at the G20 Summit in Toronto over the weekend reiterated their pledge to phase out "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies, after attempts to water down the commitment were resisted.
There had been concerns that the G20 could back away from its earlier pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies estimated to be worth $550bn a year after a leaked draft of the communiqué released at the end of the summit showed that efforts to cut back on such subsidies would be "voluntary" and "member-specific ".
However, the final version of the text released yesterday afternoon axed any reference to the measures being voluntary.
"We welcome the work of Finance and Energy Ministers in delivering implementation strategies and timeframes, based on national circumstances, for the rationalization and phase out over the medium term of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, taking into account vulnerable groups and their development needs," the text stated. "We also encourage continued and full implementation of country specific strategies and will continue to review progress towards this commitment at upcoming summits."
Sources at the summit told news agency Reuters that the language had been strengthened at the last minute at the insistence of the US, which first proposed the phasing out of subsidies at last year's meeting of the G20 in Pittsburgh and has made the plan a key component of its climate change strategy.
Research from the International Energy Agency has suggested that phasing out fossil fuel subsidies over the next decade could cut global greenhouse gas emissions by around seven per cent.
The Toronto statement also referenced the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, arguing that countries needed to "share best practices to protect the marine environment, prevent accidents related to offshore exploration and development, as well as transportation, and deal with their consequences".
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said after the summit that he had put forward proposals for an international pollution clean up fund that oil companies would be required to pay into. He added that other leaders had agreed to look at the idea and had tasked a team of experts to report back on its viability.
The Cost Of A 95% Renewable-Powered World By 2050?
18 trillion dollars, with the U.S. sporting a third of the bill, according to a report by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC). The groups assert that a drastic shift to renewable energy within the next 40 years is possible with a no-holds-barred approach and some serious owning up by the world’s biggest polluters, i.e. who has two thumbs and loves to waste!? This Guy…the U.S. of A.
Yes, because “We the People” have one of the longest and by far most intensive history of pollution and greenhouse gas emission, we’ll have to pay for a good third of the most important bar tab the world has ever seen, according to Greenpeace. Of the $18 trillion needed to pull it off, the U.S. would be responsible for 36.3 percent of the bill in 2010. That would decrease to 28.9 percent by 2030.
China, which recently surpassed the U.S. as the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, would pay only 4.3 percent in 2010, increasing to 14.3 percent in 2030. China pays less because it has a shorter history of industrial development and GHG emission, and is poorer than the United States and Europe.
The nigh unfathomable price tag of $18 trillion is perhaps the biggest issue. It is, according to Reuters, five times the entire U.S. budget for 2011. Yet Greenpeace and EREC have reportedly worked out the details, outlining a direct path to a globe almost entirely powered by renewable resources like wind, geothermal and solar power. They also point out that it would take a cumulative investment of more than $11 trillion just to stay on the path we’re on, in which oil and gas remain our dominant energy sources.
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