G7 slams Covid rescues without attaching ‘green restrictions’

The world’s leading economies have committed more than $189 billion in pandemic recovery money to subsidize fossil fuels, despite government pledges to “build back greener” and cut carbon emissions.

More than half of the $372 billion that G7 countries provided for energy production and consumption activities from January 2020 through March of this year was for coal, oil and gas, according to the Research from Tearfund, A development charity, backed by two independent think tanks.

Most of the money was delivered “without restrictions” without any demands from companies receiving assistance to reduce carbon emissions.

“The post-Covid economic recovery is a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the transition to a green economy,” said Rich Gower, a senior associate at Tearfund. “For now, the G7 is not taking this opportunity.”

The lifeline of the epidemic was included in the report The German government’s 9 billion euro rescue plan for Lufthansa And $10 billion in US government support for airports.

About $147 billion has been allocated to clean energy projects, such as tax incentives in Italy to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient.

The G7 countries account for about a quarter of global carbon emissions, even though they only account for about 10 percent of the world’s population.

Governments have raised their green commitments this year ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, which will take place in Glasgow in November. More ambitious plans to cut emissions have come along with promises to pour money into developing new green jobs and industries.

Graph of public money commitments between January 2020 and March 2021 showing that Japan and Canada are the only G7 countries that supported clean energy before the use of fossil fuels.

in May, G7 nations have pledged to stop all new financing for overseas coal projects By the end of this year, make “accelerated efforts” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.

However, Tearfund’s research has found that much of the recovery spending so far is at odds with plans to adopt cleaner sources of energy.

In a separate report published on Wednesday, the International Energy Agency said there was an increase in approvals for coal-fired power plants in 2020, driven by projects in China and some other Asian countries.

The International Energy Agency added that investment in the oil and gas exploration sector is expected to rise by about 8 percent this year, but remain below pre-crisis levels.

“Governments need to go beyond pledges to cut emissions and take concrete steps to accelerate investments in market-ready clean energy solutions and foster innovation in early-stage technologies,” said Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency.

According to a Tearfund report, the governments of Australia, India, Korea and South Africa – guests of the Group of Seven summit – have supported the expansion of coal production either financially or with political measures since January 2020.

The researchers recommended that the G7 adopt a “do no harm” principle for all expenditures, which should include tying “green threads” to any support for fossil fuel-intensive sectors, and putting an end to public money for the production of coal, oil and gas.

The report said the G7 should use its influence to urge development banks to align their activities with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Every penny counts,” Gower said. Today’s dirty energy spending “perpetuates the fossil fuels of the future.”

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