A review by the global partnership Climate Transparency has found G20 countries are failing to meet fossil fuel reduction targets put in place to address climate change.
The 2018 Brown to Green Report, released today by Climate Transparency, found that 15 states in the G20 reported a rise in carbon emissions in the last year; with 82 per cent of energy across these countries still derived from oil, coal and gas. Fossil fuel reduction targets are either not being met or not put in place to begin with.
State subsidies to fossil fuel producers to enable them to compete with the burgeoning renewable energy industry have doubled over the last decade. When setting fossil fuel reduction targets in 2009, G20 nations pledged to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels by 2020; but the Brown to Green Report shows that subsidies increased from $75bn (£58bn) to $147bn (£114bn) between 2007 and 2016.
Governments throughout the G20 have set a variety of emissions and fossil fuel reduction targets, promising to phase out the use of traditional fuels and boost renewable energy options; but the targets are rarely met. Of the nations studied, only India was found to be on track to meet the 2°C upper limit in temperature rise set out in the Paris agreement; current environmental policies in place in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey would lead to a rise of 4°C.
The UK’s transition towards renewables was the fastest, with a decline in fossil fuel use of 7.7 per cent; but government cuts to support for feed-in tariffs, energy efficiency and fossil fuel reduction targets mean this is likely to slow or even reverse in the next few years.
Jan Buerck, one of the authors of the report, said: “There is a huge fight by the fossil fuel industry against cheap renewables. The old economy is well organised and they have put huge lobbying pressure on governments to spend tax money to subsidise the old world [of fuel].”
Emissions across the G20 must begin to decline in the next two years, the report said, adding that if emissions do not halve by 2030 the world will continue to heat up by more than the recommended 1.5°C. It further noted that no G20 country has implemented the requisite emissions and fossil fuel reduction targets to allow emissions to drop at the necessary rate.