A new report reveals that Group of 20 countries continue to offer enormous financial support for fossil fuel production and consumption, having provided more than $3.3 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies since the Paris climate agreement was signed in 2015.
The report, published by BloombergNEF and Bloomberg Philanthropies, consists of three main components where immediate action is required to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius: ending fossil fuel subsidies, putting a price on carbon emissions and requiring companies to disclose the risks posed by climate change to their businesses.
According to the report's authors, this support for coal, oil and gas is "reckless" in the face of the increasing climate disaster, and urgent action is required to phase it out. According to the analysis, the sum could have been used to build solar facilities equivalent to three times the size of the U.S. electrical grid.
The G-20 countries are responsible for roughly three-quarters of global carbon emissions, which cause global warming.
The report says all 19 G-20 member countries - the EU bloc being the 20th - continue to give considerable financial support for fossil fuel, with subsidies declining by 2% every year from 2015 to 2019, reaching $636 billion in 2019, according to the most recent data available.
However, Australia raised its fossil fuel subsidies by 48% during this time period, while Canada increased its support by 40% and the U.S. increased its support by 37%. The U.K.'s subsidies fell by 18% throughout that time but remained at $17 billion in 2019.
China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India supplied the most subsidies, accounting for over half of all subsidies.
Before a meeting of G-20 energy and climate ministers in Italy Friday, the United Nations special climate envoy, Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the U.N.-backed Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, which represents more than $6.6 trillion in investments, implored governments to act.
The G-20 agreed in 2009 to phase out "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies but did not define inefficient and little progress had been made.
"New [commitments] and net-zero targets from some G-20 countries are warmly welcome," said Günther Thallinger, the chairperson of the alliance.
"However, pledges and targets alone will not be sufficient to change course."