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'Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Europe' Newsletter No.5 - February 2017:

A monthly update on policy development, campaigning and communications

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NOMINATE A SUBSIDY FOR THE EUROPEAN FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES AWARDS BEFORE THE 1st OF MARCH!

CAN Europe together with CEE Bankwatch, CounterBalance, Friends of the Earth Europe, Green Budget Europe, HEAL, Oil Change International, Overseas Development Institute and WWF European Policy Office (the Awards Jury) launched the "European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards" campaign on the 2nd of February.

Click here to nominate a subsidy for an Award already today. Deadline for nominations is February 28th. Anybody can nominate, and all instructions are on the Awards website.

 

What is this campaign about?

Most governments don’t like to talk about the fact that they are giving money to fossil fuels, and in some cases they do what they can to hide them. It is simply unfair to European citizens to keep these subsidies in the dark, hiding them behind nice words of climate action. The aim of the European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards is to put these subsidies in the spotlight and increase the pressure to phase them out.

How does it work?

The concept of the European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards is simple. All forms of fossil fuel subsidies (in Europe) are inefficient, harmful to our health and the environment and they block the transition to clean energy systems. But some obviously more than others, and the worst offenders deserve some well earned public recognition so that we can increase the pressure to phase them out.

The Awards are organised into a 4 month long campaign which is divided into three main parts: 

  • Public nomination period 2 February - 28 February
  • Jury’s shortlisting of the nominations 1 March - 31 March
  • Public voting period 3 April - 8 May

Time to nominate!

By nominating (and later on voting for) a subsidy for an Award, everyone can contribute to exposing the hypocrisy of European governments and other public institutions' promises to tackle climate action while at the same time funding fossil fuels. The Awards will be handed out at an Awards Ceremony in Brussels at the end of May. You don't want miss that!

Want to help us spread the word?

  • Only have a minute? Retweet from here.
  • Have a few more minutes? This communications pack provides tool for spreading the word about the Awards in various channels, encouraging people to nominate a subsidy. Please make use of it, and follow the guidelines in the document. You also find the Awards logo attached to this email. 
  • Feel free to share the comms pack with any person or organisation who you think would like to help us spread the word about the campaign! 

Questions? Don't hesitate to reach out! You can contact us on ffsawards@caneurope.org

And again, don't forget to nominate before the 1st of March!


 

CAN EUROPE'S LATEST TAKE ON THE ISSUE

A reformed EU budget can help to step up the EU’s climate ambitions: will the European Commission deliver?
By Markus Trilling

The EU’s long-term budget, the so called Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), defines the spending priorities for the EU over a seven-year period. The current EU budget (2014-2020) has some important climate relevant features such as “climate mainstreaming”, the strategic link to the EU 2020 climate and energy framework or the political target to spend 20% of the EU budget on climate action. 
However, fossil fuels still receive support from the EU budget, and overall its full potential to catalyse the clean energy transformation in Europe remains largely untapped.
 
The preparations for the next EU budget 2021-2027 are underway. The European Commission is working on a proposal which will be published later in 2017.

The next EU budget is important to deliver and even strengthen the climate objectives and policies of the EU, including the 2030 climate and energy targets. And a reform of the EU budget is needed to bring it in compliance with the Paris Agreement.

In its ‘2nd state of the Energy Union report’ from February, the European Commission unambiguously announced a U-turn on financing energy infrastructure: avoid stranded assets and carbon lock-in, build the sustainable energy infrastructure for the future. The European Commission wrote: “In view of scarce resources in the Member States, public resources should be used smartly. Member States should make sure that their support to energy infrastructure in the widest sense is in line with the principles of the Energy Union. Support should only be given if in line with the long-term energy policy of the European Union, avoiding stranded assets and carbon lock-in." (You can find CAN Europe's press release on the report here).

Will the European Commission keep its words when developing the next EU budget?
 
Here is the CAN Europe “DOs” and “DO NOTs” for the new EU budget to ensure that EU funds are catalyzing the transition away from fossil fuel towards 100% renewables and fully energy efficient economies.

MEDIA COVERAGE 

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CAN Europe and Greenpeace East Asia's op-ed (Climate Home): EU and China can outflank Trump on climate change 

CAN Europe also sent a letter to EU finance ministers on G20 preparations ahead of ECOFIN Council on February 21st 2017

Bloomberg: Germany prepares for climate clash with Tillerson at G-20 Talks

Investors worth $2.8 trillion say G20 must end fossil subsidies by 2020

The Independent: Investors with $2.8 trillion in assets unite against Donald Trump’s climate change denial

Reuters: G20 urged to ditch fossil fuel subsidies by 2020, go green

Climate Home: Fossil fuels subsidies ‘jeopardising climate deal’, say major investors


 

EU DEVELOPMENTS

State of the Energy Union

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Climate Home: 6 takeaways from the 2017 EU state of the energy union

FluxEnergie: ‘Financiering Europese energietransitie moet anders

Público: Quercus calls for end to EU subsidies on fossil fuels

BusinessGreen: EU hails clean energy 'year of delivery'

Other EU news

EU Observer: ‘End company-car perks, says EU commission’


 

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

On the bright side...

The Independent: Ireland votes in favour of law to become world's first country to fully divest from fossil fuels

... but on the downside ...

Germany (Politico morning newsletter): "Subsidizing fossil fuels: Germany spent €57 billion on subsidies that were detrimental to the environment in 2012, of which more than 90 percent of that was bad for the climate, the Federal Environment Agency said last week (in German). “It’s paradoxical: Germany commits itself to more climate protection internationally. At the same time, we reward behavior that is harmful for the climate with tax money,” said Maria Krautzberger, the agency’s president, in a statement. Transport received the largest share of harmful subsidies, with €28.6 billion, followed by the energy sector with €20.3 billion, the agency found."

Balkans (Reuters): Balkan push for new coal-fired plants raises environmental concerns

Azerbaijan (SMI Online): WB, Azerbaijan Sign Tanap Loan

UK (The Times): Old power plants in line for millions in subsidies

UK (Financial Times): Gas and coal are big winners in electricity capacity auction

Spain (El País): Brussels chides Spain over subsidies for harmful fossil fuels

Moldova and Romania (SeeNews): EIB, EBRD, EU back construction of Moldova-Romania gas link


INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

CarbonBrief: World is ‘backsliding’ on gasoline subsidies, finds study

EurActiv: Sefcovic: ‘Everybody wants to be on good terms with us’

BBC: World Bank loan scheme 'failing clean energy'

The Guardian: Why coal-fired power handouts would be an attack on climate and common sense

CSO CAMPAIGNS & ADVOCACY

 

Irish Parliament supports historic Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill

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Cliona Sharkey from Trocaire shares her take on the Irish Parliament's support for the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill and the context leading up to it: 

“Ireland has been a consistent laggard in relation to climate action and is one of only two countries set to fail to meet its EU 2020 targets.  Trocaire and our allies in the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition saw a real need for a new campaign strategy to send a clear signal to the public and to elected representatives in Ireland that the Paris Agreement is not a solution – but a call to action!   We saw the potential of the global momentum of the divest-invest movement and the amazing energy of  university students in Ireland who had started campaigning for their colleges to divest from fossil fuels last year.  Working together, by the end of 2016 Trinity College Dublin had committed publicly to divest, the President of the National University of Ireland committed to bring a divestment motion forward in early 2017, and a Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill had been introduced in Parliament by an Independent Parliamentarian, Thomas Pringle.  The Bill was drawn for debate in January, much earlier than we expected.  Despite this, with a huge amount of political outreach and public campaigning in the first weeks of January, support for the Bill was secured with all the opposition parties.  Unfortunately the Government is not supporting the Bill, but with a minority Government currently, the backing of all opposition Parties meant the vote was secured 90 votes to 53.  The story is not over, there is the amendments stage to come, and who knows what may happen in the external context in the meantime.  Nonetheless, this was a major moment for the climate movement in Ireland post-Paris, and a real signal to the Parliament that the public is watching them.  This is critical at a time when the Government is preparing Ireland’s first National Mitigation Plan under climate legislation adopted in 2015.”

For more information, contact Cliona.Sharkey@trocaire.org

Further reading:


 

Historic Victory for Local Communities in Turkey: Court cancels EIA approval of operational Coal Power Plant

Screenshot from 2017-02-17 14:33:02.pngTurkey's Initiative Against Fossil Fuels explain in their press release (17.02.2017):

"Court rejects Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report of Izdemir Coal Power Plant (CPP), in operation since 2014 in Aliaga, Izmir. Local communities have been fighting coal power plant projects for three decades.

Following the Break Free escalations that took place in Izmir’s Aliaga district in May 2016, local communities are one step closer to breaking free from proposed and operating coal power plant projects in one of the most polluted regions of Turkey. Communities have been fighting against the construction and illegal operation of coal power plants in Aliaga for three decades. Izdemir CPP is one of the most polluting power plants in the region. An EIA Report on the plant was approved in 2010 and the plant was put into operation in 2014. Locals took legal action in 2010 and had been pursuing the case since then.

The court case brought by locals against the EIA has now concluded and the Turkish Administrative Court cancelled the approval of the report.  The court acknowledged that the EIA in dispute was unlawful in its jurisdiction, form and grounds and was issued for an intendment other than the public good; the court therefore decided in favour of cancelling the EIA.

The court decision points out that the CPP is located in an area legally designated for renewable energy projects and states, “building coal power plants in the area is strategically and environmentally faulty; the EIA is not fulfilling its duty to take measures to promote renewable energy sources”."

Click here to read more.


 

New HEAL Campaign on fossil fuel subsidies launched

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) has launched its new campaign focused on health as a driver to accelerate the end of fossil fuel subsidies.

What is this campaign about? 

Fossil fuel subsidies cause pollution, provoke premature deaths, spread disease and endanger the climate. HEAL’s new campaign, Choose Health – End Fossil Fuels Subsidies aims to shed light on the public health opportunity that a full phase out of fossil fuel subsidies and a subsequent end of the fossil fuels era would present.

For this purpose HEAL has launched: 

• a campaign website that will allow interested people and institutions to sign up and stay informed about actions that demand #stopfundingfossils 

memes and other visuals displaying fossil fuel subsidy facts and figures to use on social media and share widely 

• an updated version of their Fossil fuel subsidies & health briefing with some new insights 

The campaign builds on the knowledge that fossil fuels such as coal largely contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and air pollution which harms health.

It aims to raise awareness especially among the health and medical community and to build momentum for the phase out of fossil fuels subsidies.

HEAL has a strong track record in bringing evidence and knowledge about climate change and health to the forefront of deliberations at EU and international level and is determined to use this expertise to help end the use of fossil fuel subsidies in the European region.

What does Choose Health demand?

Choose Health is calling on governments to stop providing public funds to one of the world’s most polluting industries and to make the full transition to renewables, protecting our health and preventing rapid climate change. 

To support this campaign, HEAL will be working on the publication of the first ever report on fossil fuel subsidies and health, which will compare coal subsidies with public health spending and support for renewables in a set of target countries. The report is due in spring 2017 and you can sign up if you'd like to be the first one to know.

 

REPORTS

(to open a report, click on the related image)

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UPCOMING EVENTS

 

Click on the calendar image to view events and add them to your calendar:

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LINKS TO CAN EUROPE'S WORK ON SHIFTING FINANCIAL FLOWS

 

WEBSITE

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For an overview of the main national fossil fuel subsidies in Europe, click on the following map below (which you can also find on our website):

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The website's table of contents with direct links to the different sections:

 

       
  euro-white-icon-in-form-of-F.png   Fossil fuel subsidies
  ic_shuffle_white_48dp_2x.png   Avenues for change
  ic_description_white_48dp_2x.png   Publications
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Resources

Data

NGO publications

Visuals

Media

  ic_event_white_48dp_2x.png   Events
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Contact

       

  


 

BUILDING A COMMON NARRATIVE 

The voice against fossil fuel subsidies has internationally grown stronger the last couple of years - both among civil society and world leaders - but it is apparent that European decision makers don’t feel enough pressure to start putting their money where their mouth is. A united voice from NGOs and other actors will help to steer the debate in the right direction – towards enhanced and fair climate action.  CAN Europe is working with members and non-members across Europe to support the development of a strong, common narrative on phasing out public financial support for fossil fuels. What is your story? Make it heard! Contact: Caroline Westblom

 

Have any news you want to share or comments on the content ? Contact: Martin O'Brien

For continual news updates and useful resources, visit our website.

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