Monday, July 10, 2017

Even as All G20 Countries Except U.S. Affirm Paris Deal, Nations Pour $72B a Year into Fossil Fuels

Vital to learn the bigger pictures that are often left out of what we hear on the corporate American media. Deep bow and gratitude to resources such as Democracy Now! which are rooted in a profound commitment to truth and to "going to where the silence is." - Molly

Excerpted from this interview on Democracy Now!:

On Saturday, world leaders broke with the United States on climate change and reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate agreement, which they called "irreversible." The final joint statement from the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, took the unusual step of acknowledging the U.S. rejection of the Paris deal while reiterating the rest of the world’s support for the landmark climate agreement. Meanwhile, a group of environmental organizations have released a new report claiming G20 governments provide an average of $72 billion per year in public finance for fossil fuels—nearly four times as much as they provide for clean energy. The report is titled "Talk is Cheap: How G20 Governments Are Financing Climate Disaster." We speak to the report’s lead author, Alex Doukas, senior campaigner at Oil Change International...
ALEX DOUKAS: Thanks, Amy. Yeah, we found, as you mentioned, that $72 billion, on average, per year is flowing from G20 governments through their public finance institutions to support the production of oil, gas and coal. As you mentioned, that’s more—nearly four times as much as they’re providing for clean energy. And that’s on top of subsidies that they provide domestically to their domestic oil, gas and coal companies—so, for example, in the United States, all of the industry-specific tax breaks that ExxonMobil and Chevron and other oil corporations benefit from. So, on the whole, we’re talking about a huge amount of government support for fossil fuel production.
And while it’s excellent that the other G20 leaders put Donald Trump in a corner and became the G19 in standing behind the Paris Agreement, it’s not enough just to say, "We’re not Trump when it comes to climate change." It’s not enough to simply confront his climate denial. These leaders have to act. They need to be putting their money where their mouths are.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, could you give us some specifics of how these supports work, some of the most egregious examples that you found in your report?
ALEX DOUKAS: Sure. There’s still actually public finance for coal-fired power plants. Most of the finance that we looked at in the report is international finance, so, for example, money coming from U.S. or Japanese or Chinese public finance institutions supporting coal-fired power plants around the world. We’ve also looked at oil and gas finance and found that it’s nearly half of all public finance for energy provided by G20 governments. So it dwarfs all other sources of energy in terms of the public support, especially into things like liquefied natural gas. And we’re seeing an increasing trend in this public finance and public investment in natural gas infrastructure. And the G20 government, even with Trump in their climate—the G20 leaders, even in their climate and energy action plan, with Trump, agreed that they called natural gas a clean fuel, which it certainly is not. And that’s something that we want to point out, is that these fossil fuels and public investment in fossil fuels aren’t at all consistent with the aims outlined in the Paris Agreement, which all of these G20 leaders, except for Trump, are happy to continue trumpeting.
AMY GOODMAN: Alex, I wanted to ask you about what happened after the G20 summit, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson flew to Istanbul, Turkey, to receive the World Petroleum Congress’s lifetime achievement award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the oil and gas industry.
Meanwhile, Tillerson could soon be called to testify about a separate email account he used for years to discuss global warming while he served as CEO of ExxonMobil. That’s according to the Associated Press, which reports that the New York attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is prepared to question Tillerson as part of his probe into whether Exxon misled its investors about the impact of climate change. Those separate emails, he went under a separate name, "Wayne Tracker."
During his Senate hearing in January, Tillerson refused to answer questions about Exxon’s history of denying the science of climate change, telling senators scientific literature on climate change is, quote, "inconclusive." He was asked about those reports by Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine.
For the full interview video and/or transcript, please go here:

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