G20 governments are committing at least $151 billion in support of fossil fuels, of which only 20% make financial support conditional on green requirements while commitments to clean energy totals $89 billion, new Energy Policy Tracker data showed Wednesday.
Around 73% of the support for the clean energy transition is unspecific on appropriate environmental safeguards, the website tracking climate and energy-related recovery policies showed.
The Energy Policy Tracker provides information about public funding commitments and other government policies related to the production and consumption of energy in the G20 countries since the beginning of the pandemic with weekly updates.
G20 countries are responsible for around 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions and account for 85% of global GDP, according to the tracker that has registered over 200 individual policies from G20 countries, combining the amounts committed through each policy to generate total aggregate figures.
While rhetoric about the need for a green recovery has grown louder in the policy space, the Energy Policy Tracker data showed that, in reality, fossil fuel producers and high-carbon sectors, such as airlines are currently set to receive 50% more recovery aid than the clean energy industry.
"The COVID-19 crisis and governments’ responses to it are intensifying the trends that existed before the pandemic struck,” Ivetta Gerasimchuk, Energy Policy Tracker project leader, said.
"National and subnational jurisdictions that heavily subsidized the production and consumption of fossil fuels in previous years have once again thrown lifelines to oil, gas, coal, and fossil fuel-powered electricity," she said adding that economies that had already begun a transition to clean energy are now using stimulus packages to make this happen even faster.
- Governments "wasting opportunity" to fight climate crisis
With G20 governments committed to injecting over $8 trillion into the global economy, decisions made today about how these funds will be distributed will lock in the world’s environmental footprint for decades to come, the statement from the Energy Policy Tracker said.
Committed support for clean energy amounted so far to $89 billion, but only $27 billion has been committed to supporting clean energy unconditionally such as solar or wind.
"In spite of the great number of clean policies being approved by governments in recent months, the tracking system shows how the fossil fuel industry has continued to aggressively lobby policy-makers. This has resulted in some so-called conditional fossil fuel policies that nevertheless lock in dangerous emissions for decades to come," Alex Doukas, program director at Oil Change International, a research center, said.
He stated that governments are pouring huge volumes of public money into the struggling fossil fuel industry under the guise of COVID-19 and wasting an opportunity to fight the climate crisis while enriching big polluters.
"Recovery spending must dramatically change course to support clean energy as an investment in the future, instead of subsidizing the polluters of the past. Fossil fuels were a bad investment even before the pandemic began," Doukas concluded.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya