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OECD: Rich Nations Provide Far More In Export Subsidies For Fossil Fuel Technologies Than For Renewables

Wealthy nations spend, on average, roughly 5 times more on export subsidies for fossil fuel technologies than for renewables, based on newly revealed data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Given that the European Union is home to many of these wealthy nations, but is also one of the main parties behind recent pushes to limit carbon emissions through regulation, and also to phase out domestic coal subsidies, the data is interesting. Not surprising. But definitely interesting.

coal mining fossil fuel subsidies

The data makes it clear just how much the wealthier “developed” nations of the world are invested in exporting the technologies that power the fossil fuel extraction business. With new UN climate talks set to occur later this year in Paris, perhaps this disparity can be addressed there?

Reuters provides some details:

Earlier this year, a document seen by Reuters provided the closest yet to official figures on coal export credits.

Further documents give the context of all energy export subsidies.

One, dated March 4, when the OECD held closed-door talks on the issue, shows OECD governments provided preferential loans and state-backed guarantees worth $36.8 billion between 2003 and 2013 for exporting fossil fuel power-generation technology, including almost $14 billion for coal.

A document from October 2014 shows another $52.6 billion in export credits was allocated for the extraction of fossil fuels, including coal, taking the fossil fuel total to $89.4 billion.

Export credits for technology for renewable energy, which has no extraction costs, were $16.7 billion.

An OECD spokesman said he could not comment on documents marked confidential. But the documents themselves say the data should be public.


That March 4 document put it pretty bluntly: “There would seem to be a pressing need to issue coherent, complete and accurate figures on official export credit support that is relevant to climate change issues.”

Commenting under the protection of anonymity, EU officials have noted that the March talks made little progress, and that the issue was expected to be brought up again at the OECD level in June.

The OECD is reportedly looking for a decision to be made on how exactly credits can mitigate climate change in time for the upcoming climate summit in Paris — which is set for November 30.

Currently, there’s an ongoing debate in the EU concerning a proposal to block export funding for all but the most efficient coal technology — unsurprisingly, coal producer Poland has blocked it and labeled it “too ambitious.” France and Britain objected as well — considering it to not be ambitious enough. So the disparate nations of the EU are deadlocked on yet another issue. What a surprise.

Image Credit: SUEK

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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