International/Toronto-23 June 2010 -- As BP's oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, G20 heads of state, due to meet in Toronto this weekend, are planning to dilute last year's commitment to phase out subsidies to Big Oil and Big Coal, according a copy of the draft statement seen by the environmental groups, Greenpeace and Oil Change International.
Last year in Pittsburgh, G20 leaders agreed, "To phase out and rationalize over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies while providing targeted support for the poorest" (1).
However, this year's draft statement (2) sees the commitment watered down with the inclusion of "voluntary, member-specific approaches," to ending fossil fuel subsidies.
"Subsidising the likes of BP, oil disasters and climate change is nothing short of insanity. The Gulf oil disaster has focused minds world wide on the need to end our oil addiction and begin an energy revolution. The urgent need to shift massive resources into energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. G20 leaders need to put their money where their mouths are and keep their promise to cut fossil fuel subsidies," said Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director, who will be an observer at both the G8 and G20 Summits.
"Governments passing one hundred billion dollars a year of taxpayers' money to big oil and coal is immoral when compared to their refusal to provide the same amount of money for the poorest countries for climate change adaptation and mitigation."
The developed world currently gives around $100bn a year to the fossil fuel industry in subsidies - one of the reasons ExxonMobil didn't have to pay any US tax last year (1).
Meanwhile Governments are baulking at coming up with the $140 billion a year in finance needed by the world's poorest countries adapt to climate change and move to a clean energy economy.
"We welcomed President Obama's appearance of leadership and the G20 commitment to end fossil fuel subsidies last year," said Steve Kretzmann, Director of Oil Change International. "Now it seems that their promise to end fossil fuel subsidies was as well thought out as a deepwater drilling plan. The G20 needs to stop the gusher of public money that is spewing into the coffers of Big Oil and coal."
"We don't need any more excuses about why it's so hard -- plug the leak, stop giving away our money to polluters, and start funding clean energy now."
Both groups called for the G20 Leaders to redouble their commitment to end fossil fuel subsidies. Rather than dilute their promise from last year the G20 must take heed of the BP Deepwater oil disaster and move the world rapidly away from its addiction to fossil fuels.
(1) Available here.
(2) A copy of the leaked document can be found here.
(3) Climate Progress blog has a full breakdown of the story of ExxonMobil's tax evasion here.
Greenpeace and Oil Change International will both be observers at the G8 and G20 Summits this weekend.
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