G20 urged to ditch fossil fuel subsidies by 2020, go green

by Reuters
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 00:01 GMT

In this 2007 file photo, view of smokestacks, about 200m (656 feet) high, at a thermal power plant in Inchon, west of Seoul, February 1, 2007. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

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Investors, insurers with over $2.8 trillion in assets want G20 to accelerate green investment and reduce climate risk

OSLO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Investors and insurers with more than $2.8 trillion in assets under management on Wednesday called on the Group of 20 economies to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 despite U.S. doubts about climate change.

G20 nations should work "to accelerate green investment and reduce climate risk", they wrote on the eve of a two-day meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Germany to prepare a summit in Hamburg in July.

The summit should set a clear timeline "for the full and equitable phase-out by all G20 members of all fossil fuel subsidies by 2020," the 16 signatories wrote.

They included Actiam, Aegon Asset Management, Aviva Investors, KBI Global Investors, La Francaise, Legal and General and Trillium Asset Management.

All G20 nations signed up for a 2015 Paris Agreement aimed at phasing out greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels between 2050 and 2100 and shifting to cleaner energies to avert heat waves, floods, droughts and rising ocean levels.

U.S. President Donald Trump, however, has sometimes dismissed man-made climate change as a hoax and wants to favour the U.S. fossil fuel industry. He also told the New York Times that he has an "open mind" about the Paris Agreement.

Last year, the Group of Seven industrialised nations including the United States said they were committed to phase out "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies and called on all countries to do so by 2025.

G20 fossil fuel subsidies total $444 billion a year, according to a 2015 study by the Overseas Development Institute in London and Oil Change International non-governmental groups.

(Reporting By Alister Doyle, editing by David Evans)