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In this year’s Country Specific Recommendations, the EU Commission removed all calls to cut fossil fuel subsidies, thus triggering environmentalists’ strong criticism.

During its yearly audit of 26 economies in May, the European Commission dropped all demands to end subsidies for fossil fuels, apart from a minor call for Luxembourg to “broaden” its environmental tax base. Campaigners – who accused the Commission of “cowardice” – have therefore raised doubts over the European Union’s commitment to tackling climate change, stating that this constitutes a major backwards step in the bloc’s policy; in fact, last year the EU’s executive arm directly addressed member states and demanded the enhancement of environmentally-friendly measures, for instance by urging 8 countries to start taxing pollution and 17 to boost renewables, electric grids and energy efficiency.

Datafrom the International Monetary Fund reveal that the European Union’s fossil fuel subsidies were worth €79 billion in 2011, and according to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) the UK is channelling €1.2 billion a year – mainly deriving from tax exemptions – into oil and gas projects. Other data from the ODI show that the world is spending half a trillion dollars a year on fostering fossil fuels’ production, and in 2012 the International Energy Agency stated that this is six times more than what it is assigned to the development of renewable energies.

Accordingly, the existing situation outlines a “triple-lose scenario” for the planet: subsidies are channelled into high-carbon assets that can’t be exploited if the world is to avoid temperatures rising above 2°C, and this deprives investments in cleaner alternatives and undermines the chances of an effective global pact.

Europe is accountable for a tenth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and together with the US is leading the battle against climate change (for example, it pledged to cut emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels), but its latest inaction on polluting subsidies clearly goes against its commitment.


The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Friday, 15 May 2015

(Source: RTCC)