06.11.2017 | Event & Actions

Reducing emissions drastically in the near term, before 2020, is a precondition for countries to be able to meet the long term goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

In this side event Climate Action Network Europe discusses the most important means countries can take to reduce their emissions immediately, and elaborate on why more speedy and effective action will minimise the damage to our societies imposed by climate change.

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pdf CAN Europe COP23 side event agenda (32 KB)

12.01.2017 | Event & Actions



Subsidising fossil fuels stands in the way of climate action across Europe while threatening our health, environment and economies.
Expose the financial support for dirty energy in your country by voting for the worst fossil fuel subsidies during the first ever European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards!

By voting for the worst subsidies, you contribute to exposing the hypocrisy of European governments and other public institutions’ promises to tackle climate change while at the same time funding fossil fuels.


And the winners are...


The Awards winners

9 national governments and the EU have won awards. See below which ones.

To get more information on each prize and the subsidy associated, click on the medals (or cick on the candidates tab above)












Award Poland


Award Norway


Award Ireland


Award Romania


Award Estonia


Award Turkey


Award Germany


Award Hungary


Award Slovakia




Award EU Jury Award




The award ceremony

The Awards results have been announced at the Ceremony in Brussels! Check out the video of the Ceremony below and check the CAN Europe facebook page to like and share the video and photos.

European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards 2017 - Ceremony

The winners of the European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards have just been revealed at our Awards Ceremony this morning in Brussels! Check out the video and share it! #FossilFuelSubsidiesAwards

Posted by Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe) on Monday, 22 May 2017
12.01.2017 | Event & Actions

The 2018 European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards!


The European Fossil Fuel Subsidies Awards expose financial support for dirty energy in countries across Europe. Subsidising fossil fuels threatens our health and economies, pollutes our air, and undermines action on climate change. Governments may be talking up their action on climate change, but they’re pouring billions into dirty energy.

The public vote has now closed. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winners on April 16!


Dirtiest, most hypocritical or deadliest? Read more about the candidates (voting has closed - winners will be announced on April 16)!

12.01.2017 | Event & Actions


Oil and gas companies in Norway receive billions in subsidies

The Norwegian government rewards investors for putting their money into oil and gas infrastructure, thereby increasing supplies from Norway to the rest of the world. These subsidies represent a threat to the climate, and to vulnerable ecosystems in the surrounding seas

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To successfully combat climate change, both supply and demand of fossil fuels have to be dealt with. Norway supplies Europe with huge amounts of oil and gas every day, ensuring easy access to the climate-harming fuels. And government subsidies have allowed Norway to become a large supplier of oil and gas. Here’s an example to illustrate how it works: If an oil company invests NOK 100 billion (roughly 11 billion) in a new oil production field in Norway, the government will pay approximately NOK 89 billion out of the 100, leaving the oil company to pay only NOK 11 billion. You might expect that the Norwegian government then collects 89% of eventual profits. But this is not the case.

If the oil company in the example turns a profit before tax at NOK 100 billion, they get to keep not NOK 11 billion, but NOK 22 billion! This leaves the government, who paid 89 billion initially, with only 78 billion. The discrepancy for oil companies between risk and return makes investments in oil and gas projects incredibly attractive, and drives investment in the supply of these climate-wrecking fuels.

The Norwegian Ministry of Finance has estimated the size of this subsidy since 2013. In the period 2013 – 2017, oil and gas companies have been subsidized with more than NOK 85 billion (more than €8.7 billion) according to the ministry. This is money that should have been spent on ensuring a clean and just transition away from fossil fuels, not on making the climate challenge even harder to meet.

Norway is supporting several important climate initiatives, like REDD+, which objective is to avoid deforestation. But, as it is helping the climate with one hand, it is destroying it with the other. The hypocrisy of these well hidden subsidies reveals the true face of Norway, which is not as climate friendly as you might have thought. 


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You can find out more about WWF Norway and this campaign via the links below:

Follow WWF Norway on:

Follow WWF Climate and energy on

Like WWF Global’s Facebook page.

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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions


Gold prize winner!

License to drill: oil threatens nature and tourist hotpot

Last year in major disregard to climate targets, the Portuguese government handed out a license to Galp/ENI companies for deep offshore drilling in Alentejo, a beautiful biodiversity protected area and a tourism hotspot.

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In January 2017, the Portuguese directorate general for maritime resources granted a license to use the offshore maritime space (a TUPEM permit) to the oil companies Galp/ENI in the deep offshore of Alentejo, off the beautiful Portuguese southern coast.

This permit grants right to private use of the offshore area - a form of special treatment and an indirect subsidy. It could serve positive objectives, assessing wind and tidal renewable energy for example. In a country known for its leading role in renewables and which is preparing a national plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, it is outrageous that fossil fuels are benefitting from this special treatment. Prospection for oil and gas is not compatible with a decarbonization pathway.

Moreover the Alentejo coastline is a biodiversity protected area and a tourism hotspot. The region is characterized by 35 natural habitats, many of which are unique. The site has a high number of priority plant species. The coastal cliffs, beaches, dunes, moorlands and wetlands coastal plateau and mountain ravines support diverse flora. Algarve and Alentejo regions are known for nature tourism activities, such as cycling, trekking, surfing or bird watching. Fishing is also important for local communities. But there have been no economic, environmental impact studies, or cost-benefit analysis for this oil drilling permit.

NGOs (including ZERO) are objecting to the license for deep offshore drilling in Alentejo, and have launched online petitions (one reached 42.000 signatures and was discussed in the National Parliament), minute letters, marches, social networks, legal actions and crowdfunding. Municipalities and regional authorities launched legal actions to stop the concession. Scientists have also signed an open letter against the project because of its climate impacts.

As a result in February 2018 the National Parliament approved a resolution calling on the government to suspend the fossil fuel prospection and studies on the coast of Aljezur, in Alentejo. At the beginning of March, deep offshore prospection and preparatory studies in Alentejo were suspended by a national court for three months.

But this does not mean the fight against fossil fuel exploration is over. 

NGOs are now calling for the cancellation of all concessions to explore fossil fuels in Portugal, and the revision of the national legislation to stop new concessions.

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Find out more about ZERO and this campaign via the links below (in Portuguese):

Follow @ZEROasts on Twitter and Facebook.


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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions


Heating homes with oil - consumers' choice?

‘Heizen mit Öl’ (Heating with Oil) subsidises installation of oil heating systems in Austrian homes. These are the most CO2-intensive system on the market, but this self-proclaimed “efficiency & climate initiative” supports each installation by €2,500-5,000!

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‘Heizen mit Öl’ (Heating with Oil), backed by a state-owned mineral oil corporation, subsidises installation of oil heating systems in Austrian homes. Around 5,500 new oil heating systems are subsidised every year with a budget of around €15 million per year. Between 2012 and 2016, €61 million were used to subsidise new oil heating systems. This subsidy is misleading consumers into installing the most CO2-intense heating systems by telling them they are doing something positive for the climate.

The “Heizen mit Öl” Initiative was founded by the Mineral Oil Industry in 2009 - just one year after the Austrian Government decided to phase out oil heating systems and federal states committed to end subsidies for oil heating systems. At the same time, Austria was failing to meet its climate goals under the Kyoto Protocol and had to pay around €500 million for CO2-certificates.

The dodgy funding for these polluting systems remained unclear for many years. But in the beginning of March 2018, NGO GLOBAL 2000 published research uncovering the details. Oil traders pay €10 per 1,000 liters of heat oil in a fund that serves “Heizen mit Öl” - and the biggest trader of oil in Austria is OMV, a part state-owned mineral oil corporation. After Austria adopted the landmark Paris Agreement, leading energy experts demanded a phase out of oil heating systems. In response “Heizen mit Öl” (Heating with oil) decided to increase the amount to €11 Euro per 1,000 liters and retaliated by launching a campaign using TV ads, advertisement in newspapers and slots on the radio, to attempt to clean up oil’s dirty image. It worked, and in early 2018 “Heizen mit Öl” celebrated installing the 50,000th subsidised system in the federal state of Lower Austria - despite the fact this state had announced a ban on oil heating systems in new buildings a year before.

Right now the Austrian Government is discussing a climate and energy strategy for Austria. One of the burning issues? How to phase out oil heating systems! One of the easiest ways to progress would be to end this harmful subsidy for oil heating systems.

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You can find our more about Global 2000 and their campaign here.

Follow Global 2000 on:


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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions


All the gifts for gas and oil 

The Italian government provides gifts of around €8.9 billion a year in small fees, ridiculous royalties and public financing for the oil & gas sector. These subsidies are transforming Italy into Texas and preventing the transition to a 100% renewable energy future!

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Payouts for the oil and gas in Italy are simply huge! The sector enjoys direct and indirect subsidies at an estimated value of €8.9 billion each year. Among the gifts are discounts and exemptions for drilling fossil fuels at a value of €1.4 billion each year. In fact, since 1996 Italian law has provided tax exemption for royalties for the first 20,000 tons of oil extracted from the mainland (or 50,000 tons offshore) and the first 25 million cubic meters of mainland natural gas (or 80 million cubic meters offshore). According to Legambiente's estimates, based on data from the Ministry of Economic Development, from 2004 until today 32% of the gas extracted in Italy has been exempted from the payment of royalties, and 8% of oil. All of this generated a loss of income of about €88 million in 2016 alone.

In addition there are multiple Italian public investments in national and international fossil fuel projects, financed or guaranteed by SACE and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. Italy provided an annual average of $2.1 billion between 2013 and 2015, eighth place among the G20 countries. Between 2014 and 2015 €643 million went to natural gas projects and between 2013 and 2015, seven projects for the extraction and exploration of oil and gas were funded at €1.2 billion. One billion was also allocated to five projects for the production of electricity from fossil fuels.

On top of this are the plans for the construction of the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP) which will cross Puglia - one of the largest European fossil fuel projects with a contribution from the European Investment Bank, equal to €1.6 billion.

So aside from investments and loans, Legambiente has counted €8.9 billion as the amount intended to support the production and consumption of fossil energy in Italy. Instead of investing in pollution and harm to our health and the environment, these resources should be invested in the green transition - for example the much-needed redevelopment and refurbishment of Italian building stock, and into supporting the public to live in an efficient and sustainable way.

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Legambiente vettoriale

Find out more about Legambiente and Stop Sussidi alle Fonti Fossili via the links below:

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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions


Tax break for polluting diesel

France gives tax breaks to diesel for heavy lorries which cost taxpayers €1 billion per year. At the same time freight transport is responsible for 22% of France’s transport emissions and a huge source of health-damaging air pollution!

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This tax break works by giving a 20% tax deduction for diesel consumption by freight transport companies using vehicles over 7.5 tons. That equates to a reimbursement of about €0.11 per litre. It has existed since 1999 and estimates show that the tax break will overrun €1 billion by 2018.

The sector already has it easy. Commercial road transport is exempted from France’s carbon tax, which is normally included in all fuel taxes, and a toll on commercial road vehicles was abandoned in 2014.

And not only is this polluting road freight transport more damaging to the climate - it is responsible for 22% of the overall CO2 transport emissions - it is also a source of air pollution with increasing impacts on human health. Lorries emit one third of the NOx emissions attributed to the transport sector. A recent study shows that air pollution is responsible for 48.000 premature death each year. At the same time 54% of public transport investments benefitted road transport in 2016 and 73% of the overall expenses linked to the transport sector were absorbed by road transport.

Freight transport needs to be transferred from road to rail for a successful green transition within the transport sector. But road transport companies continue to enjoy preferential treatment over lower carbon options like rail and water transport. This subsidy should be transformed into a tax credit for investing in sustainable transport solutions - during the energy transition - to safeguard the transport sector and its employees.

In May 2018, the government will table a new mobility act in France to drive cleaner mobility and plan funding for transport infrastructure in the future. It’s high time the government stopped using tax-payers’ money on health damaging diesel. This is a unique opportunity to  stop this tax break before it reaches its 20th anniversary in 2019.

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You can find out more about RAC France and their campaign here

Follow @RACFrance on Twitter and @ReseauActionClimate on Facebook


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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions


The state and coal: an unhealthy marriage

An unhealthy marriage between the Bulgarian government and nineteen coal companies sees these companies receiving huge subsidies while trampling over employee rights.

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Nineteen polluting companies (recognised internationally as heavy polluters) active in coal mining, electricity and heat production, and linked to the energy tycoon Hristo Kovachki, are being propped up by the Bulgarian government.  Firstly they receive a subsidised price for ‘efficient energy’ because the electricity production accompanies industrial production of briquettes and heat energy. In reality these old coal burning power plants are not so efficient and by contrast clean solar plants and wind farms in Bulgaria receive 15 to 30 percent less for electricity production.

But this lightly covered up form of state aid is not the only benefit the “coal empire” receives from public funds. The energy system operator also pays the power plants for in case the system needs back-up – a so called “cold reserve” which is activated only when a deficit in the system emerges. All of thе plants included in the empire failed when it became necessary to activate the cold reserves during the bitterly cold January of 2017. In spite of that, the companies still received public money.

This murky network is highly indebted, with an accumulated loss of close to 200 million as well as delayed payments of taxes, salaries and social contributions nearing113 million. Repeated employee rights violations have emerged, accompanied by protests of humiliated workers who have had to wait for months to receive their earned wages of 300 or, in exceptional cases,400. What is more, the working conditions are extremely dangerous: between 2007 and the first half of 2017, the National Social Security Institute of Bulgaria registered 693 work-related injuries, with 23 dead and 17 permanently disabled in the coal extraction industry. In the near future, it is likely that mass dismissals of employees will lead to unemployment of entire municipalities, with rehabilitation of old mines doubtful. The vested interests in these businesses mean that the public is likely to lose out once again once the business structure’s demise emerges.

Aside from their employees, the coal empire is having a devastating impact on health and air pollution: the European Environment Agency listed some of these coal companies among the thirty biggest air polluters in the European Union in 2011, with aggregate annual damage costs of pollution between €664 million and over €2 billion.

Greenpeace CEE would like to see an end to subsidies for coal or fossil fuel power plants. Instead there should be incentives for small scale renewables for households and communities and democratization of Bulgaria’s energy system.

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Find out more about Greenpeace Bulgaria and related campaigns via the links below:

Follow Greenpeace Bulgaria on:

Facebook: Greenpeace Bulgaria / Грийнпийс България

Twitter: @GpBulgaria

Instagram: greenpeace_bulgaria

YouTube: Greenpeace Bulgaria

Google+: Greenpeace Bulgaria


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12.01.2017 | Event & Actions


Silver prize winner!

King Coal wants to keep his crown

This subsidy, mysteriously named ‘the capacity mechanism’ was designed to maintain Poland’s dirty coal-based energy system. It will use the public’s money to invest in coal-fired plants - keeping them running well past their viable life-time!

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The capacity mechanism means power plants get paid twice - once for feeding electricity into the grid and once for claiming their ability to feed it in the first place. In theory this subsidy is open to competition in Poland, but it is clear to many independent experts that it’s just another mechanism for channelling money into coal.

A recent report shows that between 1990 and 2016 the Polish government contributed nearly €53.5 billion directly to the coal-based energy sector and mining industry - or €460.6 billion if you count all the costs to people’s health and damage to the natural environment. Conservative estimates (not even counting health and environmental costs) show that if the government continues with its current approach and including also the capacity mechanism, between 2017–2030 the coal mining and power sectors will absorb over €36 billion. According to the regulatory impact assessment capacity mechanism alone till 2027 will amount to net €6.3 billion of subsidies (WiseEuropa estimates that this category will reach over €8.9 billion by 2030).

Businesses and households will have to pay additional fees on their electricity bills to cover the capacity market. The biggest financial burden will be carried by small and medium businesses, paying out €3.5 billion, and households at €1.6 billion. According to some experts the final costs of the capacity market could be even higher.

Coal plants are already struggling to comply with air pollution limits, and air pollution is having toxic effects on health in the country. Polish coal plants are cause around 5 000 premature deaths per year as well as other health as well as other health impacts like chronic bronchitis, asthma and also generate massive external health costs.[1]

Poland’s energy sector is over 80% dependent on coal, and more and more of it is being imported, mainly from Russia. While the Polish government claims that they are acting to safeguard energy security, the truth is the capacity market is only deepening problems for Poland’s energy system. This was clearly visible in August 2015. High temperatures, low water levels (necessary for cooling the blocks in coal plants) combined with planned summer renovations led the energy system to the point where the system operator imposed power restrictions on the biggest companies. At the same time in Germany there was an energy surplus, mainly thanks to solar!

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[1]Source: Europe Beyond Coal, calculations based on 2015 emission data , also see Europe’s Dark Cloud Report



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Find out more about Greenpeace Poland and their work on coal via the links below:

  • Read about a report showing Poles pay €2 billion of coal subsidies annually
  • A Superbiz news article on the same report (in Polish)
  • An update on proposed EU restrictions to subsidies to coal, gas and nuclear.

Follow @Greenpeace_PL on Twitter and @greenpeacepl on Facebook.


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Eddy De Neef 
Head of Network Outreach
+32 2893 0827 


Tom Boyle
Fundraising and Network Outreach Coordinator
+32 2894 4676


Mathias Claeys Bouuaert
Network Outreach Officer
mathias /at/
+32 2893 0827   


Rachel Simon
Network Outreach Officer
rachel /at/

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