A new report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) tracks G20 countries’ progress in ending government support to fossil fuels and reveals large public money commitments for fossil fuel-intensive sectors in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The report Doubling Back and Doubling Down: G20 Scorecard on Fossil Fuel Funding was developed together with the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International and partly builds upon data from the Energy Policy Tracker initiative.
The authors present a set of recommendations for G20 countries that are relevant to green recovery efforts. For instance, they recommend redirecting public support away from fossil fuels to more sustainable areas like health, social support, and the clean energy transition. They also urge governments to attach green conditions to all recovery measures related to fossil fuels, to remove fossil fuel subsidies while protecting vulnerable consumers, and to charge the full rate of tax on the production and consumption of fossil fuels. The report underlines that USD 79 billion annually in revenue foregone through tax expenditures could be directed to COVID-19 recovery needs.
According to the research, no G20 country has made “good progress” in line with the Paris Agreement goals on phasing out support for fossil fuels, and the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to undo the little progress made in recent years. Until August 12, 2020, the countries allocated about USD 170 billion to fossil fuel-intensive sectors in their COVID-19 response and recovery packages. Only 16% of these commitments for fossil fuels have green conditions attached.