Jul 22, 2019 | Updated: 09:15 AM EDT

Coal Power Subsidies Tripled Despite Climate Warnings

Jun 27, 2019 09:53 AM EDT

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Given the pledge to commit to reducing carbon emissions to help save the Earth from further destruction, it seems the members of the G20 countries have overlooked the fact that coal-fired power plants are major contributors to the global warming problem. Despite the urgency put on reducing carbon emissions, it seems this move isn't contributing to the cause. The bloc of countries that play a huge role in the world economy has made a pledge a decade ago to remove all subsidies on all non-renewable energy resources. 

The report published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) shows that Japan remains to be one of the biggest supporters of the coal industry, despite the statement made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September saying, "Climate change can be life-threatening to members of all generations. We must reduce the use of fossil fuels." The annual meeting of the members of the G20 will happen in Japan this year. 

India and China are the top contributors of subsidy to coal and Japan being the third. The three are then followed by other superpower countries like South Africa and the US. While the UK provides its citizens with electricity not dependent on coal power, but recent protests have come out criticizing the billions of pounds the UK government gives to aid the construction of fossil fuel plants around the world. 

"It has been ten years since the G20 committed to totally phasing out the use of fossil fuels in providing electricity, yet governments astonishingly continue to give and increase subsidies to coal-fired power plants," said Ipek Gencsu, lead author of the report and a research fellow in the ODI. 

"Momentum on discussions on how to take action against climate change and ending subsidies to the industries that use fossil fuels. Not only will it set a new playing field in the industry of energy, but it could help set up a world that's air pollution-free," she added. 

Han Chen, the Natural Resource Defense Council energy policy manager said, "other governments may find it difficult to believe Japan's rhetoric on climate change, as this year's host of the G20 meeting will be pouring in billions of dollars on the development of coal. If Prime Minister Abe is serious about Japan's participation in the G20, then he should put an end to the financing of coal development". He is a co-author of the study. 

About 5% of the subsidies that have been identified in the report were used to assist the transition away from coal, mainly in the UK and Germany. However, other programs have also been identifying like the one launched in China in 2017 where $15 billion dollars were spent for coal and steelworkers, 

"They are just kicking the can down the road," Gencsu said. "The money would be better off if it were used to managing industries that will put an end to the use of coal."

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