Let’s start off this COP with a bit of a reality check on the progress (or lack thereof) on phasing out dirty fossil fuels – particularly in developed countries. Scientists have shown that we currently have many times more fossil fuels in existing reserves than our global carbon budget can withstand in a 2 oC scenario. Yet governments continue to subsidize the exploration and production of even more fossil fuels. So again ECO reminds about their existing commitments to phase out these subsidies.
Recently, however, there have been hopeful signs. France announced that it plans to join the US, UK and Netherlands in severely restricting export credit financing for coal projects in developing countries. Though this indeed is a welcome step, ECO suggests that such a move needs to have a clear timeline, and that these countries need to take concrete steps to phase out all fossil fuel subsidies. Next in line should be other big developed countries (take note, Germany, Japan and Poland). The spotlight on developed countries to phase out fossil fuel subsidies is getting stronger and there is no excuse for any further delay.
In addition, a crucial point. Countries must immediately phase out support for exploration of new fossil fuel reserves. A recent report estimated that the G20 spends $88 billion per annum supporting the finding of more fossil fuels. At the same time, the IPCC and others warn that the vast majority of currently existing reserves need to be left in the ground.
It is long past time to shift all public money and investment away from the dirty fossil fuel industry that has massively contributed to the climate crisis we are in. ECO reckons there are far better ways to spend this money – do you think climate finance perhaps?
For a stimulating discussion on phasing out dirty fossil fuels, the EU Pavilion at 18.00 is the place to be today!