The G20 nations provide four times more public financing to fossil fuels than to renewable energy, a report has revealed ahead of their summit in Hamburg where German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said climate change will be at the heart of the agenda.
The authors of the report accuse the G20 of “talking out of both sides of their mouths” and the summit faces the challenge of a skeptical US administration after Donald Trump pulled out of the global Paris agreement, Guardian reported.
The public finance comes in the form of soft loans and guarantees from governments, and, along with huge fossil fuel subsidies, makes coal, oil and gas plants cheaper and locks in carbon emissions for decades to come.
But scientists calculate that to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, most fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground, requiring a major shift of investment to clean energy.
The new report by a coalition of NGOs found that G20 countries provided $71.8 billion of public finance for fossil-fuel projects during 2013-15, compared with just $18.7 billion for renewable energy. Japan provided the most at $16.5 billion, which was six times more than it allotted for renewables.
China, which is curbing its coal use and increasingly being seen as a climate leader, provided $13.5 billion for fossil fuels but just $85 million for green energy.
Germany, also considered a climate leader, provided $3.5 billion of public finance for fossil fuels, compared with $2.4 billion for renewables.
Britain provided $972 million for fossil fuels, compared with $172 million for renewable energy.
“When the G20 countries committed to the Paris agreement, they made a pact with the world that they would take meaningful steps to reduce their carbon emissions to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis,” said Nicole Ghio of the Sierra Club, one of the groups that compiled the report.
“But as we now know, these countries have been talking out of both sides of their mouths. It’s unconscionable that any nation would continue to waste public funds on fossil fuels when clean energy sources are readily available [and] more cost-effective and healthier for families and communities across the globe.”