Rich nations spend 5x more on fossil fuel export subsidies than renewables

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Wealthy nations spend, on average, roughly 5 times more on export subsidies for fossil fuel technologies than for renewables

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Wealthy nations spend, on average, roughly 5 times more on export subsidies for fossil fuel technologies than for renewables, based on newly revealed data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Given that the European Union is home to many of these wealthy nations, but is also one of the main parties behind recent pushes to limit carbon emissions through regulation, and also to phase out domestic coal subsidies, the data is interesting. Not surprising. But definitely interesting.


The data makes it clear just how much the wealthier “developed” nations of the world are invested in exporting the technologies that power the fossil fuel extraction business. With new UN climate talks set to occur later this year in Paris, perhaps this disparity can be addressed there?

Reuters provides some details:

Earlier this year, a document seen by Reuters provided the closest yet to official figures on coal export credits. 

Further documents give the context of all energy export subsidies.

One, dated March 4, when the OECD held closed-door talks on the issue, shows OECD governments provided preferential loans and state-backed guarantees worth $36.8 billion between 2003 and 2013 for exporting fossil fuel power-generation technology, including almost $14 billion for coal.

A document from October 2014 shows another $52.6 billion in export credits was allocated for the extraction of fossil fuels, including coal, taking the fossil fuel total to $89.4 billion. 

Export credits for technology for renewable energy, which has no extraction costs, were $16.7 billion. 

An OECD spokesman said he could not comment on documents marked confidential. But the documents themselves say the data should be public.

That March 4 document put it pretty bluntly: “There would seem to be a pressing need to issue coherent, complete and accurate figures on official export credit support that is relevant to climate change issues.”

Commenting under the protection of anonymity, EU officials have noted that the March talks made little progress, and that the issue was expected to be brought up again at the OECD level in June.

The OECD is reportedly looking for a decision to be made on how exactly credits can mitigate climate change in time for the upcoming climate summit in Paris — which is set for November 30.

Currently, there’s an ongoing debate in the EU concerning a proposal to block export funding for all but the most efficient coal technology — unsurprisingly, coal producer Poland has blocked it and labeled it “too ambitious.” France and Britain objected as well — considering it to not be ambitious enough. So the disparate nations of the EU are deadlocked on yet another issue. What a surprise.

Source: CleanTechnica. Reproduced with permission.

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  1. Chris Fraser 5 years ago

    Surely if they were as good, clean and efficient as renewables they wouldn’t need subsidies. What shall it be ?

  2. Raahul Kumar 5 years ago

    The subsidies need to be cut worldwide, there is no good reason for the government to be funding fossil fuels. Minus the subsidies, it could be the case that the alternatives are already more competitive.

    That level of funding is 4x what the renewable side of the equation receives.

    • nakedChimp 5 years ago

      ..there is no good reason for the government to be funding fossil fuels.

      Sure there is: “who’s bread I eat, his song I sing” is a German saying which applies here 😉

      Unless there is broad ‘damage’ and ‘impact’ on ordinaries peoples lives from climate change there will be no real change. The other option would be excessive impact on the 10% of wealthy people, but they have so much money and power, they can ride out pretty much anything.

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