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Big Economies Agree to Phase Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Posted on Monday 28th June 2010

Leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies met at the G20 Summit in Toronto over the weekend, and, on Sunday, they made a collective pledge to clean up energy policy.

The joint statement (.pdf) calls for a "phase out over the medium term of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, taking into account vulnerable groups and their development needs."

All G20 agreements are voluntary, but this one differs from many previous agreements in that it is more than just an agreement. According to Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations, "G20 leaders, in order to show up at the summit prepared, were required to come up with actual strategies for reducing fossil fuel subsidies."

And, according to Levi, the combination of the pledge and fact that leaders prepared strategies for following through with it, is very encouraging:

I know from speaking with policymakers in several countries that governments were going through planning exercises that they otherwise wouldn’t have in order to deliver on their previous G20 commitments. These strategies will have real consequences for fossil fuel consumption.

Let's hope so.

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