G20 Leaders Debate Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies to Curb Global Warming

by | Sep 25, 2009

smogGroup of 20 leaders are close to an agreement on phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels in an effort to curb global warming, though no fixed dates have been set, reports Reuters.

Several G20 countries subsidize fuel such as coal and oil, at a cost of about $300 billion, to keep prices artificially low for consumers, which boosts both demand for hydrocarbons and emissions, reports Reuters.

Obama aide Michael Froman told Reuters that phasing out fossil fuel subsidies worldwide could cut greenhouse gases by up to 12 percent by 2050, citing estimates by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Energy Agency. He said United States would agree to the cuts as well.

The United States is urging developing nations such as China, India and Russia to cut those subsidies in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But some, like India, want to eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels over time, citing the needs of the nation, reports Bloomberg News.

Shyam Saran, India’s special envoy on climate change said in the article that a strong message from leaders on carbon pollution limits would have a favorable impact on talks at the United Nations meeting in Copenhagen in December.

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