Divert $600-bln fossil fuel subsidy to climate aid - expert

by Susanna Twidale | Reuters Point Carbon
Thursday, 18 July 2013 16:00 GMT

An activist walks past a banner of a giant 1 trillion dollar bill, representing the amount in taxpayer dollars spent yearly by governments on fossil fuel subsidies, in Los Cabos, Mexico, June 18, 2012. REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Garcia

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LONDON, July 18 (Reuters Point Carbon) – Diverting cash used to subsidise fossil fuel production and consumption could raise up to $600 billion a year to fund cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and help poor countries adapt to the effect of a warmer planet, delegates at U.N. talks were told in the Philippines this week.

Industrialised nations plough $600 billion a year to subside coal, oil and gas activity.

Dr Mattia Romani, Deputy Director General at the Global Green Growth Institute said in a presentation at the talks that this instead could be used to fill the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund.

“Removing these subsidies could lead to a 13 percent decline in CO2 emissions,” he said.

At U.N. climate negotiations in 2010, rich nations agreed to set up the Fund, but weak economic growth has dampened governments’ willingness and ability to contribute, meaning it is currently an empty shell.

The two day-Manila talks were the first meeting of the U.N.’s Experts on Long-term Finance, a group charged with finding ways to help raise up to $100 billion a year by 2020.

Development of the Fund is seen as a crucial key to help unlock U.N. climate negotiations that have for years been marred by a lack of trust, with rich and poor countries trading accusations over broken promises while global greenhouse gas emissions rise.

Nations have pledged to sign an international climate agreement in 2015 due to come into force five years later.

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