Following up from an earlier blog-post upon the failure of capitalism to seriously address climate change, energy ministers from the Group of 20 (G20) met in Beijing to discuss bringing those subsidies to a close after the Group of 7 (G7), the world's seven wealthiest economies, last month committed to eliminate "inefficient" fossil fuel handouts by 2025. A report published in 2015 by the climate group Oil Change International found that the combined G20 subsidies for oil, gas, and coal production amounts to roughly $444 billion a year. But despite ambitious pledges during the COP21 summit in Paris last year and long-term campaigning from climate groups, who urged an even earlier phase-out deadline of 2020, officials could not agree on a target date. The two-day meeting wrapped up without a firm plan in place.
"G20 countries talked big in Paris about their commitment to fighting climate change, but when it comes to the basic task of stopping public support for climate changing fossil fuels, they can't seem to take the first steps, much less walk the walk," said Stephen Kretzmann, executive director at Oil Change International. "The world is in a deep hole with climate change, and the first thing to do in a hole is stop digging," Kretzmann said. "If world leaders want to show that they’re committed to the kind of bold climate action they agreed to in Paris, the least they can do is commit to ending fossil fuel subsidies by 2020."