Government support to fossil fuel consumption and production in industrialised nations and key emerging economies remains high at $160-200 billion a year, hampering global climate action efforts, an OECD report found on Monday.
The OECD Inventory of Support Measures for Fossil Fuels 2015 identified almost 800 spending programmes and tax breaks used by governments in the 34 OECD countries and six key emerging G20 economies (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa) to encourage the consumption or production of fossil fuels.
These include measures that reduce prices for consumers, as well as those that lower exploration and exploitation costs for oil and gas companies.
“The time is ripe for countries to demonstrate they are serious about combating climate change, and reforming harmful fossil fuel support is a good place to start,” said Angel Gurría, secretary-general of the OECD, a think tank advising its membership of industrialised nations.
He pointed out that governments are spending almost twice as much supporting fossil fuels as is needed to meet a climate finance commitment to provide $100 billion a year for poor countries by 2020.
The report said that lower oil prices present a unique opportunity for governments to phase out support for the consumption and production of fossil fuels.