- Lead-organizer: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
- 15:30 - 17:00
- Date: 18 Jun 2012
- Room: T-6
Phasing-out fossil fuel subsides: what is at stake and why now?
Organizing partnersNatural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International, and Vasudha Foundation India
IntroductionMore than $500 billion is provided per year in fossil fuel subsidies. Fossil fuel subsidies drain public resources, drive global warming, and make it harder for clean energy to compete. In fact, fossil fuel subsidies are 500% larger than the subsidies provided for clean energy. While a total of 53 countries have made specific commitments to phase-out their fossil fuel subsidies, little progress has been made in following through by enacting changes to the laws and policies in the key countries. A panel of experts on fossil fuel subsidies will outline how much money is provided for these subsidies, where key countries stand in terms of phasing-out their subsidies, and what is needed to turn this promise into reality.
Detailed programmeOver $100 billion in subsidies are provided globally per year for fossil-fuel production and over $400 billion in subsidies were provided for fossil-fuel consumption, according to the International Energy Agency. These subsidies make it that much harder for clean energy to compete as they have to overcome these direct fossil fuel subsidies, as well as the indirect subsidies (e.g., the health damages from fossil fuel combustion). These subsidies are also a real drain on national budgets at a time of tight government budgets around the world. And such subsidies encourage the production and use of fossil-fossil fuels and thereby increase global warming pollution.
Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies is a cornerstone of a Green Economy as those subsidies are help to lock-in infrastructure which is driving global warming, contributing to local air pollution which is making citizens sick and causing lost economic opportunities, and leading to other adverse environmental impacts. Political will to reform fossil fuel subsidies has been gaining political momentum. The most recent commitment came in October 2010 when 193 nations adopted the Aichi Targets as part of the 10-year Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Target three is for the elimination of environmentally harmful subsidies by 2020. The G20 and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) have also made political commitments to reform fossil fuel subsidies. In total, 53 countries have taken international commitments to reform and phase-out their fossil fuel subsidies including many of the world's largest economies (e.g., G20 and APEC).
This side-event will bring together leading experts to discuss how following through on commitments to phase-out fossil fuel subsidies is a critical cornerstone of efforts to build a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. Speakers will include: Jake Schmidt (International Climate Policy Director) at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Steve Kretzmann (Executive Director) at Oil Change International (OCI); Anthony Swift (Attorney) at NRDC; Srinivas Krishnaswamy (Executive Director) at Vasudha Foundation India, and others.