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Civil Society Organizations Join Forces to Call for G20 to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies by 2020

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More than 200 civil society organizations, including the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), have joined together to urge G20 governments to commit to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2020.

Environmental groups, campaigners and researchers have come together to sign a joint statement that calls for governments to set a clear timetable to phase out fossil fuel subsidies as well as public finance for oil gas and coal production.

The statement, sent to ministers ahead of the G20 energy meeting in Beijing this month (June 29-30), also urges G20 governments to commit to full transparency about fossil fuel subsidies from 2017 onwards and to include all commitments in the 2016 G20 communique ahead of this year’s summit.

Recent research by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Oil Change International (OCI) found G20 governments spend USD 444 billion every year to support fossil fuel production.

Shelagh Whitley, Team Leader of Green Growth at ODI, said: "At a time when we should be investing in clean sources of energy, fossil fuel subsidies are locking us into using up oil, coal and gas resources and therefore undermining efforts to deal with the very real threat posed by climate change.

"Given the urgency of this threat, the G20 needs to take the next steps on its commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, and set a clear timetable for how this will be done by 2020 to give us any chance of reducing carbon emissions to a safe level."

Peter Wooders, Group Director Energy, IISD, Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI), said: "Many countries are reforming subsidies to fossil fuels. GSI believes that the phase out of subsidies by 2020 from the G20 countries is also eminently possible, given a sound plan and deadline for action."

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For more information, please contact Sumeep Bath, media and communications officer, IISD, at sbath@iisd.ca or +1 (204) 958 7740 (ex 740).

Notes to editors

  • The statement, signed by more than 200 civil society organizations, is due to be published on Tuesday, June 28.
  • The meeting of G20 energy ministers will take place in Beijing on Wednesday, June 29, and Thursday, June 30.
  • The November 2015 report from ODI and OCI, Empty promises: G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production, found G20 governments spent USD 444 billion a year to support fossil fuel production – via national subsidies (USD 70 billion), investments by state-owned enterprises (USD 286 billion) and public finance (USD 88 billion).

The G20 Leader’s Summit 2016 will take place on September 4-5 in Hangzhou


About the International Institute for Sustainable Development

Established in 1990, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is a non-partisan, charitable organization specializing in policy research and analysis, and information exchange. Through their head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and their branches in Ottawa, New York, and Geneva, the Institute champions sustainable development around the world through innovation, partnerships, research and communications. It is dedicated to engaging decision-makers in business, government, non-government organizations and academia on issues around economic and legal frameworks, energy and climate change, water, resilience, and knowledge.

For more information, please contact: Sumeep Bath at sbath@iisd.ca or +1 (204) 958 7700 ext. 740

IISD contributes to sustainable development by advancing policy recommendations on international trade and investment, economic policy, climate change and energy, natural and social capital, and the enabling role of communication technologies in these areas.