Otago Daily Times
Call to end fossil fuel support
BRUSSELS: A senior European Union official urged member nations yesterday to stop subsiding fossil fuels, which are undermining the bloc’s policies to tackle climate change.
‘‘The European Green Deal is clear: fossil fuel subsidies have to end,’’ EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson told the European Parliament, referring to the EU’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
‘‘They remain a major impediment to a costefficient energy and climate transition, but also to a functioning internal market.’’
EU countries spent ¤159 billion ($NZ282 billion) on energy subsidies in 2018, according to a commission report published this month. Nearly a third of that went on fossil fuels.
Fossil fuel subsidies among the EU’s 27 countries increased by 6% from 201518, though some, including Austria, Denmark, Estonia and Hungary, bucked the trend.
The handouts include support from governments and public bodies to coal, gas and oil, in the form of grants, loans, tax incentives or price support.
The commission will reform EU tax rules next year to tackle exemptions for some fuels. Simson said it would work with member states to end polluting subsidies.
It also warned that Europe’s spending on clean energy research had slowed in recent years. — Reuters