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Empty promises: G20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production

Published by: ODI


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This research discovers that G20 country governments’ support to fossil fuel production marries bad economics with potentially disastrous consequences for climate change. In effect, governments are propping up the production of oil, gas and coal, much of which cannot be used if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. This report documents, for the first time, the scale and structure of fossil fuel production subsidies in the G20 countries. The evidence points to a publicly financed bailout for some of the world’s largest, most carbon-intensive and polluting companies. It finds that, by providing subsidies for fossil fuel production, the G20 countries are creating a ‘lose-lose’ scenario. They are directing large volumes of finance into high-carbon assets that cannot be exploited without catastrophic climate effects. This diverts investment from economic low-carbon alternatives such as solar, wind and hydro-power. In addition, the scale of G20 fossil fuel production subsidies calls into question the commitment of governments to an ambitious deal on climate change.

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General Information

SDGs Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy Goal 13: Climate action
Published
2015
Thematic Area
Sustainability
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Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people with access to electricity has increased by 1.7 billion, and as the global population continues to rise so will the demand for cheap energy. A global economy reliant on fossil fuels and the increase of greenhouse gas emissions is creating drastic changes to our climate system. This is having a visible impact on every continent.

However, there has been a new drive to encourage alternative energy sources, and in 2011 renewable energy accounted for more than 20 percent of global power generated. Still one in five people lack access to electricity, and as the demand continues to rise there needs to be a substantial increase in the production of renewable energy across the world.

Ensuring universal access to affordable electricity by 2030 means investing in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal. Adopting cost-effective standards for a wider range of technologies could also reduce the global electricity consumption by buildings and industry by 14 percent. This means avoiding roughly 1,300 mid-size power plants. Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean energy sources in all developing countries is a crucial goal that can both encourage growth and help the environment.

Sustainable energy is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 7.

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Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people with access to electricity has increased by 1.7 billion, and as the global population continues to rise so will the demand for cheap energy. A global economy reliant on fossil fuels and the increase of greenhouse gas emissions is creating drastic changes to our climate system. This is having a visible impact on every continent.

However, there has been a new drive to encourage alternative energy sources, and in 2011 renewable energy accounted for more than 20 percent of global power generated. Still one in five people lack access to electricity, and as the demand continues to rise there needs to be a substantial increase in the production of renewable energy across the world.

Ensuring universal access to affordable electricity by 2030 means investing in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal. Adopting cost-effective standards for a wider range of technologies could also reduce the global electricity consumption by buildings and industry by 14 percent. This means avoiding roughly 1,300 mid-size power plants. Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean energy sources in all developing countries is a crucial goal that can both encourage growth and help the environment.

Sustainable energy is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 7.

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The SDG Fund response

The SDG Fund programmes promote the use of renewable and sustainable sources of energy. At the same, time they promote construction techniques that are more energy efficient.

For example,

  • In Bolivia, a food security and nutrition programme is promoting the use of solar energy in the food production. Farmers are able to produce at a lower cost and reduce their CO2 emissions.
  • In Mozambique, the SDG Fund programme is supporting, through UNIDO and national partners, a technology exchange with South African National Cleaner Production Center. This government facility promotes resource efficient and cleaner production methodologies to assist industry in lowering costs through reduced energy, water and materials usage, and waste management.
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The SDG Fund response

The SDG Fund programmes promote the use of renewable and sustainable sources of energy. At the same, time they promote construction techniques that are more energy efficient.

For example,

  • In Bolivia, a food security and nutrition programme is promoting the use of solar energy in the food production. Farmers are able to produce at a lower cost and reduce their CO2 emissions.
  • In Mozambique, the SDG Fund programme is supporting, through UNIDO and national partners, a technology exchange with South African National Cleaner Production Center. This government facility promotes resource efficient and cleaner production methodologies to assist industry in lowering costs through reduced energy, water and materials usage, and waste management.
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  • By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
  • By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
  • By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
  • By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology
  • By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support
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  • By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
  • By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
  • By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
  • By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology
  • By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support
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Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

There is no country in the world that is not seeing first-hand the drastic effects of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, and are now more than 50 percent higher than their 1990 level. Further, global warming is causing long-lasting changes to our climate system, which threatens irreversible consequences if we do not take action now.

The annual average losses from just earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and flooding count in the hundreds of billions of dollars, requiring an investment of US$ 6 billion annually in disaster risk management alone. The goal aims to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries and help mitigate climate-related disasters.

Strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacity of more vulnerable regions, such as land locked countries and island states, must go hand in hand with efforts to raise awareness and integrate measures into national policies and strategies. It is still possible, with the political will and a wide array of technological measures, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This requires urgent collective action.

Addressing climate change is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 13.

[format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

There is no country in the world that is not seeing first-hand the drastic effects of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, and are now more than 50 percent higher than their 1990 level. Further, global warming is causing long-lasting changes to our climate system, which threatens irreversible consequences if we do not take action now.

The annual average losses from just earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and flooding count in the hundreds of billions of dollars, requiring an investment of US$ 6 billion annually in disaster risk management alone. The goal aims to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries and help mitigate climate-related disasters.

Strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacity of more vulnerable regions, such as land locked countries and island states, must go hand in hand with efforts to raise awareness and integrate measures into national policies and strategies. It is still possible, with the political will and a wide array of technological measures, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This requires urgent collective action.

Addressing climate change is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 13.

) ) ) [field_the_sdgf_work] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => SDG Fund’s programmes contributing to SDG 13 [format] => [safe_value] => SDG Fund’s programmes contributing to SDG 13 ) ) ) [field_icon_with_text] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [fid] => 323 [uid] => 1 [filename] => E_SDG_Icons-13.jpg [uri] => public://E_SDG_Icons-13.jpg [filemime] => image/jpeg [filesize] => 72657 [status] => 1 [timestamp] => 1450139877 [type] => image [field_file_image_alt_text] => Array ( ) [field_file_image_title_text] => Array ( ) [rdf_mapping] => Array ( ) [metadata] => Array ( [height] => 466 [width] => 466 ) [alt] => [title] => [height] => 466 [width] => 466 ) ) ) [field_the_sdg_fund_response] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] =>

The SDG Fund response

The SDG Fund joint programmes take into account climate change adaptation considerations along the project cycle. As an example, a key element to mainstreaming climate change is the use of a climate lens.

The following criteria are essential elements observed:

  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project under could be vulnerable to risks arising from climate variability and change
  • The extent to which climate change risks have already been taken into consideration
  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project could inadvertently lead to increased vulnerability and maladaptation or miss important opportunities arising from climate change

For example,

  • In Cuba, the SDG Fund is strengthening resilience and improving access to water in tackling the impacts of recent droughts, noted as the worst in recent history, affecting more than one million people.
  • In Fiji, a SDG Fund programme is building the capacity of young farmers in organic agriculture for climate resilience.  Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people.
  • In Mozambique, the SDG Fund is providing training opportunities on green construction using traditional techniques and materials. The objective is to create residences that are less expensive while also preserving the environment.
[format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

The SDG Fund response

The SDG Fund joint programmes take into account climate change adaptation considerations along the project cycle. As an example, a key element to mainstreaming climate change is the use of a climate lens.

The following criteria are essential elements observed:

  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project under could be vulnerable to risks arising from climate variability and change
  • The extent to which climate change risks have already been taken into consideration
  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project could inadvertently lead to increased vulnerability and maladaptation or miss important opportunities arising from climate change

For example,

  • In Cuba, the SDG Fund is strengthening resilience and improving access to water in tackling the impacts of recent droughts, noted as the worst in recent history, affecting more than one million people.
  • In Fiji, a SDG Fund programme is building the capacity of young farmers in organic agriculture for climate resilience.  Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people.
  • In Mozambique, the SDG Fund is providing training opportunities on green construction using traditional techniques and materials. The objective is to create residences that are less expensive while also preserving the environment.
) ) ) [field_targets] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] =>
  • Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  • Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  • Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
  • Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible
  • Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities

* Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.

[format] => full_html [safe_value] =>
  • Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  • Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  • Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
  • Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible
  • Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities

* Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.

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The concept of long term sustainability of development programmes is constantly evolving.

The SDG Fund definition involves:

  1. Inclusion and participation in programme initiatives within the vision of a Human Rights-based approach
  2. Economic use of resources in programme implementation
  3. Sustainability of programme achievements after termination of activities
  4. Mainstreaming environment and climate change in development programmes

For our programmes integrating sustainability requires an analysis of the governance architecture and the different stages of the programme cycle. At the national level, this could include the formulation of national policies, long term and multi-year development plans, sectoral budgetary allocation processes, and regulatory processes. At the level of projects on the ground, climate change adaptation considerations might need to be factored within specific elements of the project cycle.

As an example, a key element to mainstreaming climate change is the use of a climate lens. The following criteria are essential elements to be observed:

  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project under consideration could be vulnerable to risks arising from climate variability and change
  • The extent to which climate change risks have already been taken into consideration
  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project could inadvertently lead to increased vulnerability and maladaptation or miss important opportunities arising from climate change

The following publications offer useful guidance for introducing environmental sustainability and climate change sensitivity into development programmes:

See also this list of references from the UNFCCC on how to mainstream climate change into development programming.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

The concept of long term sustainability of development programmes is constantly evolving.

The SDG Fund definition involves:

  1. Inclusion and participation in programme initiatives within the vision of a Human Rights-based approach
  2. Economic use of resources in programme implementation
  3. Sustainability of programme achievements after termination of activities
  4. Mainstreaming environment and climate change in development programmes

For our programmes integrating sustainability requires an analysis of the governance architecture and the different stages of the programme cycle. At the national level, this could include the formulation of national policies, long term and multi-year development plans, sectoral budgetary allocation processes, and regulatory processes. At the level of projects on the ground, climate change adaptation considerations might need to be factored within specific elements of the project cycle.

As an example, a key element to mainstreaming climate change is the use of a climate lens. The following criteria are essential elements to be observed:

  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project under consideration could be vulnerable to risks arising from climate variability and change
  • The extent to which climate change risks have already been taken into consideration
  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project could inadvertently lead to increased vulnerability and maladaptation or miss important opportunities arising from climate change

The following publications offer useful guidance for introducing environmental sustainability and climate change sensitivity into development programmes:

See also this list of references from the UNFCCC on how to mainstream climate change into development programming.

[safe_summary] => ) ) ) [field_short_description] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => Embedding sustainable principles in all our projects and ensuring long-term development gains. [format] => [safe_value] => Embedding sustainable principles in all our projects and ensuring long-term development gains. ) ) ) [field_icon_class] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => fa fa-recycle [format] => [safe_value] => fa fa-recycle ) ) ) [field_subtitle] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] =>

Embedding sustainable principles in all our projects and ensuring long-term development gains

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Embedding sustainable principles in all our projects and ensuring long-term development gains

) ) ) [field_image] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [fid] => 8 [uid] => 1 [filename] => Nicaragua-environment-woman-at-well.jpg [uri] => public://Nicaragua-environment-woman-at-well.jpg [filemime] => image/jpeg [filesize] => 137912 [status] => 1 [timestamp] => 1449239930 [type] => image [field_file_image_alt_text] => Array ( ) [field_file_image_title_text] => Array ( ) [rdf_mapping] => Array ( ) [metadata] => Array ( [height] => 1183 [width] => 1600 ) [alt] => [title] => [height] => 1183 [width] => 1600 ) ) ) [field_type] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => crosscuting_issue ) ) ) [field_paragraphs] => Array ( ) [rdf_mapping] => Array ( [rdftype] => Array ( [0] => sioc:Item [1] => foaf:Document ) [title] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:title ) ) [created] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:date [1] => dc:created ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) [changed] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:modified ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) [body] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => content:encoded ) ) [uid] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:has_creator ) [type] => rel ) [name] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => foaf:name ) ) [comment_count] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:num_replies ) [datatype] => xsd:integer ) [last_activity] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:last_activity_date ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) ) [path] => Array ( [pathauto] => 1 ) [name] => sysadmin [picture] => 0 [data] => a:2:{s:7:"contact";i:0;s:7:"overlay";i:1;} ) [access] => 1 ) ) ) [field_downloads] => Array ( ) [field_delivering_as_one] => Array ( ) [field_country_entity] => Array ( ) [field_body] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => This research discovers that G20 country governments’ support to fossil fuel production marries bad economics with potentially disastrous consequences for climate change. In effect, governments are propping up the production of oil, gas and coal, much of which cannot be used if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. This report documents, for the first time, the scale and structure of fossil fuel production subsidies in the G20 countries. The evidence points to a publicly financed bailout for some of the world’s largest, most carbon-intensive and polluting companies. It finds that, by providing subsidies for fossil fuel production, the G20 countries are creating a ‘lose-lose’ scenario. They are directing large volumes of finance into high-carbon assets that cannot be exploited without catastrophic climate effects. This diverts investment from economic low-carbon alternatives such as solar, wind and hydro-power. In addition, the scale of G20 fossil fuel production subsidies calls into question the commitment of governments to an ambitious deal on climate change. [format] => [safe_value] => This research discovers that G20 country governments’ support to fossil fuel production marries bad economics with potentially disastrous consequences for climate change. In effect, governments are propping up the production of oil, gas and coal, much of which cannot be used if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. This report documents, for the first time, the scale and structure of fossil fuel production subsidies in the G20 countries. The evidence points to a publicly financed bailout for some of the world’s largest, most carbon-intensive and polluting companies. It finds that, by providing subsidies for fossil fuel production, the G20 countries are creating a ‘lose-lose’ scenario. They are directing large volumes of finance into high-carbon assets that cannot be exploited without catastrophic climate effects. This diverts investment from economic low-carbon alternatives such as solar, wind and hydro-power. 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