Today Austria won the shameful Fossil of the Day Award from Climate Action Network (CAN) International. Austria was given this dubious award because it is failing as the president of the EU to end subsidies to coal power plants in the current EU electricity market negotiations, while the the bloc underperforms on climate finance for developing countries, which are at the forefront of the worsening impacts of climate change.
Rather than supporting the member states calling for an end to coal subsidies, Austria, which is leading the EU electricity market negotiations on behalf of the EU Council, has chosen to back the climate laggards that want to use capacity mechanisms as a lifeline for coal.
The EU Council under the Austrian presidency is headed towards the continuation of subsidies to existing and new coal plants until 2035 or beyond, within so-called “capacity mechanisms” that are used as backdoor subsidies for uncompetitive and polluting coal-fired power plants. This results in consumers footing the bill twice as the vast majority of these worth €58 billion subsidies is given to coal and added to energy bills of EU citizens. Coal subsidies also pave the way to the construction of new climate damaging power plants, like the planned construction of the Polish 1GW ‘Ostrołęka C’ despite the unprofitability of the project and protests of environmental groups.
Moreover Austria in its special role at this COP has been largely silent and has failed to provide crucial signals on climate finance and regain the trust of developing countries. Almost 10 years ago developed countries promised to raise $100 billion annually by 2020, but the EU is failing to come forward with new pledges to finance the Green Climate Fund.
Commenting on the Fossil of the Day Award, Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:
“Siding with EU’s worst climate laggards is not what one would expect from a true leader. The Austrian presidency must lead the way towards a net zero climate economy by pushing for ambitious EU climate targets and putting an end to coal subsidies, instead of placing Europe in the mire of coal swamp for the next decades.”
Nicolas Derobert, CAN Europe Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 483 62 18 88
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe's leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With over 150 member organisations from 35 European countries, representing over 1.700 NGOs and more than 40 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe.