(Bloomberg) – The G-7 countries have reached an agreement this month to remove subsidies for fossil fuels after the United Kingdom received Italian support for the project.
Bloomberg, according to a draft ministerial report, said this year’s hosts, the British and G-7 countries, should decide when to suspend subsidies for energy sources that produce greenhouse gases internationally and to eliminate the use of coal. The British government also wants members to allocate more funds to facilitate change, especially in developing countries.
In the run-up to this month’s G-7 meeting of climate and environment ministers, Italy, which is well aware of the talks, opposed some of the financial aspects of the proposed measures, but one minister said Monday that Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government would support the plans.
“I can reaffirm Italy’s commitment to sharing the British G-7 President’s intentions on environmental issues,” Environmental Change Minister Roberto Singolani said in a telephone interview. “There is absolutely no hesitation on the part of the Italian government.”
Efforts to tackle climate change through the G-7 and G-20, which include China and India, have been thwarted by US President Donald Trump in recent years. But Joe Biden has promised to end fossil fuel subsidies in the United States. The US president has already ordered federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, although he needs the support of Congress to fully fulfill his campaign promise.
In the past, the G-7 and other international forums have tried to end subsidies for fossil fuels, but have failed to agree on a specific timetable and definition. In contrast, the objectives proposed by the United Kingdom are viewed as ambitious and firm by negotiators.
Fossil fuel subsidies are estimated at $ 5.2 trillion a year in 2017, equivalent to 6.5% of the world economy, according to the International Monetary Fund. China was the largest donor in 2015, followed by the United States, Russia, the European Union and India. The International Monetary Fund has revealed that efficient prices for fossil fuels in 2015 would have reduced carbon emissions by 28%.
The virtual ministerial meeting is scheduled for May 20 and 21. Measures to provide some means for “exceptional circumstances” are needed to achieve the global goal of zeroing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and controlling global warming to 1.5 C.
Key parts of the draft text were not agreed to by all G-7 members Monday morning. Two officials said Italy and Japan had shown some reluctance ahead of this month’s meeting. The United Kingdom has argued that the panel should set a precedent for other countries such as China and India to do the same.
In addition to supporting the broader goals, Italy’s Minister of Environmental Change argues that the country in particular should abandon coal.
“I hope this happens soon,” Singolani said. “We want to significantly reduce this capacity by 2025. We need to be realistic because there is a huge industrial component with thousands of workers.”
He added that Italy would increase its financial contribution to help developing countries manage change. Singolani declined to comment on other objectives of the project because the document is still under discussion, he said.
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