Citizen Action Monitor

Most G20 countries prioritize fossil fuels over clean energy in post-pandemic recovery plans

Calls for a post-pandemic “green recovery” were derailed by aggressive fossil fuel lobbying

No 2645 Posted by fw, July 24, 2020 —

“Most of the world’s 20 leading economies, including Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, are choosing to support fossil fuels over clean energy as part of their coronavirus economic recovery packages, although China is outspending on renewables by a ratio of 4 to 1, according to data collected by Energy Policy Tracker. [As of July 22, 2010, updated  data show the G20 has committed at least US$160.95 billion (US$35.10 per capita) for fossil fuels, and at least US$123.75 billion (US$26.99 per capita) for clean energy.] The funds flow to energy production and consumption through direct budgetary transfers, tax expenditure, loans, loan guarantees and various hybrid mechanisms. These combine with government policies that already existed before the pandemic and entrench high-carbon energy. … While noises about the need for a ‘green recovery’ after the coronavirus have grown louder in policy circles, Energy Policy Tracker shows that in reality, fossil fuel producers and high-carbon sectors such as airlines, are receiving 70% more recovery aid than clean energy. ‘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,’ said Angela Picciariello, senior research officer at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). ‘This has resulted in some so-called conditional fossil fuel policies that nevertheless lock-in dangerous emissions for decades to come.’”Fermin Koop, Open Democracy

Fermín Koop is Latin America editor for Diálogo Chino (The Southern Cone), based in Buenos Aires. This article was previously published by China Dialogue.

Below is my slightly abridged and edited repost of Fermin Koop’s article, featuring my added subheadings, text highlighting, bulletted reformatting, added text [in square brackets] and a couple of URL changes/additions. Alternatively, read Koop’s original, full piece by clicking on the linked title below

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G20 bets on fossil fuels for post-Covid-19 economy recovery plans by Fermin Koop, Open Democracy, July 20, 2020

Most G20 countries prioritize fossil fuels over clean energy in post-pandemic recovery plans

Most of the world’s 20 leading economies, including Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, are choosing to support fossil fuels over clean energy as part of their coronavirus economic recovery packages, although China is outspending on renewables by a ratio of 4 to 1, according to data collected by Energy Policy Tracker. [As of July 22, 2010, updated  data show the G20 has committed at least US$160.95 billion (US$35.10 per capita) for fossil fuels, and at least US$123.75 billion (US$26.99 per capita) for clean energy.] The funds flow to energy production and consumption through direct budgetary transfers, tax expenditure, loans, loan guarantees and various hybrid mechanisms. These combine with government policies that already existed before the pandemic and entrench high-carbon energy.

The COVID-19 crisis and governments’ responses to it are intensifying the trends that existed before the pandemic struck,” said Dr. Ivetta Gerasimchuk, the [Energy Policy Tracker] project lead. 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 and coal.”

The [Energy Policy Tracker] website considers over 200 individual policies from G20* countries, combining the amounts committed through each policy to generate total aggregate figures. It split the data into unconditional and conditional backing, as some countries like France have asked industries for further climate action as a condition to granting the funds. [*G20 Countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.]

Calls for a post-pandemic “green recovery” were derailed by aggressive fossil fuel lobbying

While noises about the need for a ‘green recovery’ after the coronavirus have grown louder in policy circles, Energy Policy Tracker shows that in reality, fossil fuel producers and high-carbon sectors such as airlines, are receiving 70% more recovery aid than clean energy.

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,” said Angela Picciariello, senior research officer at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). “This has resulted in some so-called conditional fossil fuel policies that nevertheless lock-in dangerous emissions for decades to come.”

Despite having the expertise and incentives to tackle climate change in 2018, G20 took no action to reduce emissions

Emissions from energy, industry, transport, buildings, and agriculture in G20 nations rose in 2018, demonstrating a clear lack of action to tackle climate change, according to the Brown to Green Report coordinated by the organization Climate Transparency. This is despite countries having the technical expertise and economic incentives necessary to lower them, new research has found.

Today, G20 is responsible for 79% of global emissions and is ill-prepared to help reach 2°C Paris target

G20 economies represent more than 80% of global GDP and three-quarters of global trade. The group is also responsible for 79% of global emissions and therefore has a major role in fulfilling the goals of the Paris Agreement. However, existing G20 commitments are insufficient to prevent a global average temperature increase of more than 2°C.

Post-pandemic recovery spending “must dramatically change course to support clean energy”

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,” said Alex Doukas, a program director at Oil Change International.

LATIN AMERICA’S TRAJECTORY

Brazil’s policies supporting fossil fuels could not be quantified in US$ funding

The Tracker found that Brazil has so far allocated US$780 million to clean energy sources and US$2.6 billion to other energies, mainly for consumption, biofuel producers and emergency financing for the electricity sector. There were other fossil fuel-supporting policies but they couldn’t be quantified.

Mexico’s policies will delay progress towards low carbon economy

Meanwhile, Mexico has spent up to US$3 billion to support fossil fuels since the pandemic began, granting a fiscal stimulus to state-owned oil company Pemex and backing the construction of the Dos Bocas refinery. Renewables have stopped expanding despite their huge potential.

These policies will delay economic recovery, the energy transition, and progress toward establishing the foundations of a low-carbon economy and, therefore, Mexico’s development,” said Juan Carlos Belausteguigoitia, head of the energy center at Mexico’s Technological Institute (ITAM).

Argentina’s unquantified recovery policies support fossil fuels, with nothing for clean energy

The tracker couldn’t quantify the spending of Argentina’s Covid-19 recovery packages but found policies that support fossil fuels and none for clean energy. Oil trades domestically at US$45, a government move that aims to keep the oil and gas industry profitable despite drops in price and consumption.

[AUSTRALIA, CANADA, SOUTH KOREA PRIORITIZE FOSSIL FUELS]

Outside Latin America, other countries prioritising fossil fuels include –

    • Australia, which spends US$480 million annually [on fossils] and only US$122 million on renewables,
    • Canada, with US$11.9 billion granted to fossil fuels and US$223 million to clean energy and
    • South Korea, which allocates US$4.9 billion to coal, gas and crude oil and US$1.3 billion to renewables.

China on track with US$17 billion in supporting clean energy and US$4 billion in fossil fuels

However, some proved to be on the right track. China spent US$17 billion in supporting clean energy and US$4 billion in fossil fuels. Jin Zhen, a researcher at the Institute of Global Environmental Strategy, highlighted investment in national railway development and water conservation.

Germany, India, Japan and UK also applauded for approved of green energy policies

Satoshi Kojima, principal coordinator at the Japan-based Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), said: “We are happy to see that China, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, and the UK have already approved some green recovery policies that provide lasting and decent green jobs,” adding; “Further efforts to mainstream this strategy are desirable.”

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