Rich countries are still wasting billions on subsidies for fossil fuels


Five years ago, at one of their annual meetings, the G20 countries — the biggest economies in the world — pledged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

So naturally, today, the G20 countries are spending $88 billion a year subsidizing exploration for new fossil fuels. Sigh.

That’s the I-wish-it-were-more-shocking conclusion of a new report from the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International.

Keep in mind, that isn’t all the fossil fuel subsidies — not even close. “Globally, subsidies for the production and use of fossil fuels were estimated at $775 billion in 2012,” says the report. (“By contrast, subsidies for renewable energy amounted to just $101 billion in 2013.”) The new report is specifically about subsidies devoted to finding new fossil fuels, beyond the stuff we already have, which is enough to fry the planet thrice over.

Those subsidies come in three basic forms: investment by state-owned enterprises, direct…

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