G20 leaders fail to agree on phase-out date for fossil fuel subsidies

Financing the transition| Global transition

Climate change was high on the agenda as leaders of the world’s largest economies met for the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China. But the communiqué released today once again lacks a deadline for when to phase out subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe calls upon Germany, as next G20 chair and the EU as a whole to take necessary steps to both agree on a rapid phase out of subsidies globally and walk the talk in Europe.

The US and China’s ratification of the Paris Agreement ahead of the G20 paved the way for a positive outcome of the Summit. The communiqué released today solidified the announcement by the US and China to swiftly ratify the Paris Agreement, but once again leaves out an end date for when fossil fuel subsidies are to be phased out.

In reaction to the outcome of the Summit, Wendel Trio, Director at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said: “The outcome of the G20 Summit unfortunately shows that despite soaring pressure to phase out fossil fuel subsidies in light of the Paris Agreement, leaders of the world’s largest economies are still shying away from their responsibility to set a deadline to phase out subsidies. To stay true to the Paris objectives, all G20 countries, including the EU needs to phase out all fossil fuel subsidies by 2020. With the G20 presidency moving into Europe next year, the EU now needs to show leadership and urgently reform its policies and tools that both directly and indirectly allow for financial support to the fossil fuel industry.”

In 2009, G20 leaders committed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. Since then, governments have failed to agree on a deadline for when this should be achieved.

The EU has, through its commitment to phase out environmentally harmful subsidies by 2020 committed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by this date, but a briefing published by CAN Europe earlier this week shows that the EU is still providing massive support to fossil fuels. 



Caroline Westblom, CAN Europe Communications Officer, caroline@caneurope.org,
+32 484 566 239

Wendel Trio, CAN Europe Director, wendel@caneurope.org, +32 473 170 887


Notes to editors

The G20 Communiqué is available here (in french) and pdf here in english on German government site

CAN Europe briefing: Connecting the dots – EU’s funding for fossil fuels

G20 Statement from 2009 in which G20 leaders committed to “rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption” 

 In June, G7 leaders agreed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies no later than 2025.

EU’s reiterated commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 under the umbrella of Environmentally Harmful Subsidies

In June, more than 200 civil society groups from around the world released a statement calling on G20 leaders to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2020.

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s largest coalition working on climate and energy issues. With over 130 member organisations in more than 30 European countries – representing over 44 million citizens – CAN Europe works to prevent dangerous climate change and promote sustainable climate and energy policy in Europe.

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