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'Ending Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Europe' Newsletter No.6 - March 2017

A monthly update on policy development, campaigning and communications

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STARTING APRIL 3

VOTE FOR WHICH NOMINATED SUBSIDIES

SHOULD WIN

THE EUROPEAN FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES AWARDS!

The public nominations have been a great success: dozens of nominations from all over Europe have been put forward!

Following the nomination period, the Awards Jury (CAN Europe, CEE Bankwatch, CounterBalance, Friends of the Earth Europe, Green Budget Europe, HEAL, Oil Change International, Overseas Development Institute and WWF European Policy Office) is now shortlisting the nominations that will be put to public vote in two weeks time to see which subsidies win the 2017 European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards.

The public vote will start on April 3rd and run until May 8th. By voting for a subsidy for an Award, anyone will be able to 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!

 

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. Any questions? Don't hesitate to reach out! You can contact us at ffsawards@caneurope.org

 

 

Stay tuned for further news on the Awards webpage, and DON'T FORGET TO VOTE STARTING APRIL 3rd!

 

 

CAN EUROPE'S LATEST TAKE ON THE ISSUE

 

G20 finance ministers gear up for first meeting
 

By Maeve McLynn

This Friday and Saturday, finance ministers from the world’s 20 largest economies will gather in the spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany to discuss issues and challenges related to our global financial system. That discussion will include fossil fuel subsidies, a long-standing agenda item of G20 gatherings.


Civil society organisations, economists and think tanks are just some of the key groups that have repeated over and again why fossil fuel subsidies are so senseless and damaging to our societies. As another round of G20 meetings gets underway, there is an indication that German government has sat up and listened to these messages.
 
A draft statement prepared for the finance ministers’ meeting was leaked last week, revealing the potential direction of the meeting with regard to discussions on broad financial issues. A less conspicuous part of the statement relates to fossil fuel subsidies, and the potential to anchor down a date for when they will be phased out. The full media article can be found here. It mentions that "The finance ministers’ draft statement (...) established a goal for G-20 nations to phase out fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by 2025."

A persistent demand of NGOs has been to phase out fossil fuel subsidies as soon as possible and no later than 2020, with developed countries taking an unwavering lead in the collective effort. In addition, civil society campaigners have been calling for the G20 to lay down a clear pathway for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, taking into consideration the energy needs of the poorest and most vulnerable communities.

So the news that there is draft language on setting such a date has injected some much needed enthusiasm into the discussions. Civil society organisations can show their support for the German government’s proposal for setting such a deadline.

In an effort to do this, Oil Change International has launched an online action for targeting G20 governments and sharing information on fossil fuel subsidies. 

Take Action Here to support the online campaign!

Further information, tools and images can be found here and should be used in the hours ahead of the G20 meeting.


Additional information on fossil fuel subsidies and sustainable finance:

Climate Action Network International prepared and published a number of issue briefs related to the G20 work areas on climate, energy and finance. These short one-page briefs are set out to reach government officials as they prepare for meetings and the eventual G20 Communiqué which should be published after the G20 summit on July 8th. You can find the the useful briefs at the following links: fossil fuel subsidies and sustainable finance.

Also, it appears Germany will be pushing for carbon price at G20 (BBC): "Germany will use its G20 Presidency to nudge world leaders towards a global price on carbon, according to its director general of energy policy."

MEDIA COVERAGE 

 

EU DEVELOPMENTS

 

EU budget

- Handelsblatt: Oettinger: Germany May Have To Pay More To E.U. “If Great Britain exits in the spring of 2019, the start of the new financial framework could be pushed up by a year to 2020. Moreover, there is something to be said for shortening the financial period from seven to five years.”

- Delano: Modest EU budget reform proposal: Monti. “There are many opportunities to do things that would be consistent with reinforcing the single market, that would be conducive to more effective EU policies against climate change, etc.”

- The High Level Group on Own Resources for the EU budget came up with its proposals in December 2016. CAN Europe beleives that the EU budget's ‘Own Resources’ should deliver on EU climate policies and address fiscal distortions that favor fossil fuel-powered economies on national level e.g. with a carbon tax alongside the EU Emission Trading System (ETS).

 

Other EU news

- Guardian: ECB's quantitative easing programme investing billions in fossil fuels. "The European Central Bank’s (ECB) quantitative easing programme is systematically investing billions of euros in the oil, gas and auto industries, according to a new analysis. The ECB has already purchased €46bn (£39bn) of corporate bonds since last June in a bid to boost flagging eurozone growth rates, a figure that some analysts expect to rise to €125bn by next September. On Thursday the bank said it would extend the scheme until 2018. (...) Unlike the European Investment Bank (EIB) or European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the ECB is not obliged to consider the effect that its investments may have on climate change."

- Europa Nu: Speech Commissioner Canete: Completing a competitive, reliable and innovative Energy Union. “Europe is forging ahead with the clean energy transition. There is no alternative. Let me be absolutely clear on this.”

- Euractiv: The keys to decarbonising Europe’s heating and cooling. “Policymakers must give a strong signal to end-users and industries on the need for change and the incompatibility of fossil-based solutions with the 2050 goals to reach a zero emissions economy for Europe.”

- Vastuullisuusuutiset: Most wood energy schemes are a 'disaster' for climate change. “EU Governments, under pressure to meet tough carbon cutting targets, have been encouraging electricity producers to use more of this form of energy by providing substantial subsidies for biomass burning. However this new assessment from Chatham House suggests that this policy is deeply flawed when it comes to cutting CO2.”


 

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

 

On the bright side

- Turkey (Climate Home): Court forces Turkish coal plant to suspend operations. “Three years after it came online, Izdemir power station has been stripped of its environmental licence, in a win for campaigners”

- UK (Carbon Pulse): UK pledges to target “total carbon price” for 2020s, with details due in autumn

- Luxembourg (Carbon Pulse): Luxembourg can reclaim ArcelorMittal’s unused carbon allowances, top EU court rules

 

On the downside

- Italy (LNG World News): Snam ups investment, eyes small-scale LNG development. “The Italian natural gas transmission system operator, Snam, intends to study the development of small-scale LNG business and to up its investment over the 2017-2021 period. The company expects an annual net income growth of 4 percent on average, with investment over the period to reach €5 billion (Approx: US$5.3 billion). Out of the €5 billion planned investment, €4.7 billion will be spent on further developing the Italian gas network and its interconnection with the European infrastructure system, while €270 million has been earmarked for the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project.” (Snam is under public control)

- UK (DeSmog): UK Government Last Year Gave £427 Million to Support Fossil Fuel Projects Abroad

- Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia (Euractiv): V4 energy security: The land of nuclear and coal

 

Other developments

- Green groups: ‘Brexit is pivotal environmental moment’. “Greener UK says it is essential the UK continues to co-operate with the EU to maintain high standards and financial support for greenhouse gas reduction, energy efficiency and air quality”

Imperial College says UK power sector CO2 emissions would be 20% higher w/o CO2 tax ‘Researchers at Imperial College London modelled the electricity sector in 2016 with no carbon tax – and double the current levy. Read how they used Electric Insights data to help explore post-Budget policy options.’


 

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS

 

- Reuters: Shell CEO urges switch to clean energy as plans hefty renewable spending. Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said:  "I do think trust has been eroded to the point that it is becoming a serious issue for our long term future," he continued. "If we are not careful, broader public support for the sector will wane." "This is the biggest challenge as we have at the moment as a company ... The fact that societal acceptance of the energy system as we have it is just disappearing." 

CSO CAMPAIGNS, ADVOCACY & PUBLICATIONS

 

Global Divestment Mobilisation 2017

The project organised by 350.org will be about, according to the dedicated website:

"From May 5 – 13, join thousands of people everywhere to highlight the impacts of our institutions’ investments in fossil fuels and demand they do the right thing: divest!"

"This May, we’re coming together right across Europe, and globally, to escalate our campaigns for divestment. It’s time for our institutions to take the moral high ground and divest from disaster.

Join the Global Divestment Mobilisation —  organise an action that helps to highlight the destructive climate impacts of your target institution’s continued support for the fossil fuel industry."


Exxon BBL petition success

Clear here for an overview of the success (in Dutch)


#we25million petition

This european petition started in the Netherlands and has as part of its demands for Europe to "cut fossil fuel subsidies". Click here for more information.


 

PUBLICATIONS, LETTERS & POSITION PAPERS

 

 

INTERNATIONAL

- Global subsidies

IISD’s Global Subsidies Initiative webinar video recording on Zombie Energy: Climate benefits of ending subsidies to fossil fuel production

- Southern Gas Corridor

Counter Balance, CEE Bankwatch Network, CAN Europe, Food & Water Europe, FoEE, International Partnership for Human Rights, Platform London, Re:Common, Urgewald, WWF EPO, 350.org: Letter to Vice-President of the European Commission regarding the Southern Gas Corridor

Counter Balance: Southern Gas Corridor's dubious contribution to energy security

CEE Bankwatch: 

- European Investment Bank

Counter Balance: EU ombudsman to investigate EIB for maladministration

 

EUROPEAN UNION

- European Central Bank

Corporate Europe Observatory: The ECB’s ‘quantitative easing’ funds multinationals and climate change

- Energy Union

Green Budget Europe: Towards a Sustainability-Oriented Energy Union

- European Semester

Green Budget Europe: EU Commission urges Member States to act on post-crisis finances by shifting taxation to polluting sectors

- Connecting Europe Facility

CAN Europe: Contribution to the mid-term evaluation of the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)

Bankwatch Network, CAN Europe, EEB, Energy Watch Group, E3G, Food and Water Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, Green Budget Europe, Justice and Environment, Transport and Environment: Letter to the European Commission on Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) mid-term evaluation

Friends of the Earth Europe: Commission announces billionth Euro for fossil fuel infrastructure in 3 years

 

NATIONAL

- Export Credit Agencies

CEE Bankwatch: Lack of transparency hindering Czech export agency


 

REPORTS & BRIEFINGS

(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
  ic_equalizer_white_48dp_2x.png  

Resources

Data

NGO publications

Visuals

Media

  ic_event_white_48dp_2x.png   Events
  ic_contact_mail_white_48dp_2x.png  

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: Nicolas Derobert

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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