G20 countries have allocated more funds in support of fossil fuels than clean energy since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, according to statistics from Energy Policy Tracker, a non-profit research initiative.
The world's largest economies have committed at least $657.79 billion to support various energy sources through new or revised policies, the study revealed.
Out of this funding, $296.45 billion has been assigned to support fossil fuel energy, while the budget for clean energy was much less at $227.21 billion.
The research is based on different energy sources, broken down into categories specifying criteria on whether it has any environmental conditionality attached. The categories are 'fossil unconditional'; 'fossil conditional'; 'clean unconditional'; 'clean conditional', and 'other energy'.
The research company showed that the largest economies spent at least $247.41 billion on unconditional fossil fuels, which include oil, gas, coal, grey hydrogen, or fossil fuel-based electricity that have no climate targets or additional pollution reduction requirements.
However, it revealed that just $49.03 billion was allocated for conditional fossil fuels that set some climate targets.
While the money spent for unconditional clean energy that produces low-carbon and has negligible impacts on the environment if implemented with appropriate safeguards was $53.81 billion, the funds for conditional clean energy amounted to $170.40 billion.
The policies for unconditional clean energy support energy efficiency and renewable energy from naturally replenished resources such as sunlight, wind, small hydropower, rain, tides, and geothermal heat.
However, the policies categorized as clean conditional support the transition away from fossil fuels, but are unspecific about the implementation of appropriate environmental safeguards.
The research also reveals that at least $134.13 billion was spent by G20 governments for other energy sources comprising nuclear energy, biofuels, biomass and biogas.
By Sibel Morrow and Gulsen Cagatay