Coal, oil and gas subsidies risking rise in global temperatures to 3.2C, well beyond agreed Paris goal
Wed 14 Nov 2018
Climate action is way off course in all but one of the world’s 20 biggest economies, according to a report that shows politicians are paying more heed to the fossil fuel industry than to advice from scientists.
Among the G20 nations 15 reported a rise in emissions last year, according to the most comprehensive stock-take to date of progress towards the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
The paper, by the global partnership Climate Transparency, found 82% of energy in these countries still being provided by coal, oil and gas, a factor which has relied on an increase of about 50% in subsidies over the past 10 years to compete with increasingly cheap wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.
The G20 nations spent $147bn (£114bn) on subsidies in 2016, although they pledged to phase them out more than 10 years ago.
Governments have said they will change, but on current commitments the world is on course for a 3.2C rise in average global temperatures, more than double the lower Paris threshold of 1.5C, which scientists have said represents the last chance to save coral reefs, the Arctic ecosystem and the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people at risk of increased drought, flooding and forest fires.
“The gap is still very big,” said Jan Burck, one of the authors of the report. “The G20 is not moving fast enough.”
Comparing the goals and policies of different countries, the paper found that only India was on course to stay below the upper limit set by the Paris agreement of 2C, while the worst offenders – Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – would take the world beyond 4C.