Full Title: G20 coal subsidies
Author(s): Ipek Gençsü, Shelagh Whitley, Leo Roberts, Christopher Beaton, Han Chen, Alex Doukas, Anna Geddes, Ivetta Gerasimchuk, Lourdes Sanchez and Anissa Suharsono
Publisher(s): The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and Oil Change International (OCI)
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Full Text: Download Resource
A decade on from their commitment to phase out subsidies to fossil fuels at the Group of 20 (G20) Summit in Pittsburgh, G20 governments continue to provide billions of dollars for the production and consumption of fossil fuels. This report finds that they provide at least US$63.9 billion per year in government support to the production and consumption of coal alone, with almost three-quarters of the support identified being directed to coal-fired power production.
At a time when tackling the climate crisis requires leadership and strong action from G20 countries, which account for 79% of global emissions, it is imperative that their governments transition away from all fossil fuels, including coal. Coal-fired power plants were the single largest contributor to the growth in global CO2 emissions in 2018, and continued G20 government support for coal is incompatible with achieving the aims of the Paris Agreement. Moreover, coal-fired power is one of the main causes of air and broader environmental pollution, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths per year.
Yet, our analysis finds that G20 governments continue to support coal through US$27.6 billion in domestic and international public finance, US$15.4 billion in fiscal support, and US$20.9 billion in state-owned enterprise (SOE) investments per year across the G20. This includes support through a wide range of instruments to prop up coal production, coal-fired power production, and other consumption of coal and coal-fired power, as well as support which is justified as a means of facilitating the transition away from coal. It must be noted that these figures are likely to significantly underestimate the actual amounts of support provided, as many measures are difficult to identify or quantify.
We also find that government support for the production of coal-fired power has increased in recent years, from just over US$17.2 billion per year (average for 2013–2014) to nearly US$47.3 billion per year (average for 2016–2017).