The Jakarta Post
The G20 summit meeting this week in Brisbane, Australia, provides political leaders with an opportunity to galvanize international action on climate change.
They should seize that opportunity by agreeing to end the subsidies that support exploration for oil, gas and coal.
The scale of these subsidies is not widely recognized. According to a new report by the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International, G20 countries currently spend approximately US$90 billion annually on the identification and expansion of fossil-fuel reserves.
Given that two-thirds of currently known reserves cannot be exploited if the world is to remain within the internationally agreed 2Âº Centigrade threshold, this is a bad investment for tax-payers and the planet.
Fossil fuel subsidies turn upside down the logic of effective action on climate.
As highlighted in the recent Global Commission on the Economy and Climate report, governments should be increasing the price on carbon emissions.
Take away the subsidies and much of the investment now flowing into fossil fuel exploration would dry-up. Allied to wider measures, this would help to create the conditions for a low carbon energy transition.
Five years ago G20 leaders pledged to cut fossil fuel subsidies. They must now act with urgency to redeem that pledge.
Setting a timetable for phasing out all subsidies for fossil fuel exploration would be smart economics.
It would also establish the G20 as a credible force in
international efforts to secure an ambitious global deal on climate change.
Director of The Earth Institute, New York
Former Minister of Economy and Production, former presidential candidate, Argentina
Stern School of Business New York
Professor of Sustainable Energy at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
AndrÃ© Lara Resende
Former President of the Brazilian National Bank for Economic and Social Development and Special Advisor to the President of Brazil, Brazil
Director of Resources Environment and Development group at Crawford School of Public Policy, Canberra.