Saturday, May 28, 2016

G7 Leaders Pledge to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies by 2025, but Do the Opposite

The G7 Ise-Shima Leaders’ Declaration contains some retrograde language that contradicts some positive statements picked out to claim "green" progress.  Here are some examples:

As the leaders of G7, "we commit to play a leading role in facilitating energy investments, and encourage relevant stakeholders, despite the increased uncertainty posed by the current energy price levels, to sustain their investments in energy sector, in particular in quality energy infrastructure and in upstream development, so that we can mitigate risks to future growth of global economy."

This means that the G7 will do what it takes to keep up investment in the exploration and development of (coal and) oil and gas fields in order to forestall future supply shortages.  It contradicts the language on phasing out fossil energy subsidies.  They may intend to finesse this by saying that tax breaks and other privileges are no subsidies.

"We support the enhanced efforts on energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, including hydro, as well as other domestic resources."

This is code for "we will continue to support coal, oil-sands and the like as ‘domestic resources‘".  Canada, Poland and Spain are doing exactly that, the latter two in contravention of EU state-aid rules.  Donald Trump is using that language in his promise to ensure more American coal is burned.  In essence, this says that we, the G7 leaders, will not stand in their way and may do likewise.

About subsidies, the G7 leaders say:

"We remain committed to the elimination of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and encourage all countries to do so by 2025."

This wording leaves the option of declaring some subsidies for fossil fuel to be "efficient" and then to introduce, maintain, or increase them.  Focusing on "fuel" subsidies, leaves room for existing and new subsidies for the upstream development of fossil resource and related infrastructure.

There are other passages that express full support for:
  • (Fossil methane) gas and LNG, which can be understood as support for fracking
  • Nuclear power programmes, and call for measures to counter public skepticism

All this indicates that the G7 Summit preparation process is captured by the fossil and nuclear industries and incumbent energy utilities.  

Will the German government, with the experience of the Energiewende and its co-benefits, use its presidency of the G20 in 2017 to promote a declaration that speaks
  • unequivocally against all forms of subsidies and privileges for the fossil and nuclear energy industries,
  •  strongly in favor of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the
  •  transformation of all energy systems to 100% renewable supply by 2050 or earlier as the
  •  urgency of global heating and ocean acidification increases, new technologies and business models emerge, costs come down, and the management of transformations is better understood?

No comments:

Post a Comment