This week, as G20 leaders prepare to convene on Sept. 4 in Hangzhou, China, the Sierra Club launched its newest initiative, the Fossil Free Finance Campaign. With more than $5.3 trillion in global subsidies currently funneled into the pockets of the world's fossil fuel giants annually, the Fossil Free Finance Campaign aims to move the U.S. government and public institutions, like the World Bank, as well as governments around the world—including those at the G20—to completely eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies by 2020.
In 2009, G20 leaders committed to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies but failed to set a deadline and seven years later, the world is still waiting for concrete action. G20 countries are still responsible for more than $440 billion in fossil fuel subsidies annually and account for 74 percent of global carbon emissions that are driving the climate crisis. To put that into perspective, the annual total of G20 subsidies is more than four times the global investment in clean energy.
"In the past seven years, we've seen historic climate progress across the U.S. and around the globe—from the Clean Power Plan to the U.S.-China agreement to limit carbon pollution to the adoption of the Paris agreement. But while the world moves forward toward a 100 percent clean energy economy, G20 leaders have remained stagnant, with the world waiting on empty promises," Michael Brune, Sierra Club's executive director, said.
"Shifting over $440 billion from the pockets of the world's dirtiest polluters is no small feat, but it's a challenge that the Sierra Club and everyone who cares about clean air and water, healthy communities and a stable climate needs to take on."
Building on the momentum of the historic Paris agreement, the Sierra Club is prepared to call on U.S. leaders to walk the walk and will be actively and aggressively pursuing this important goal by engaging a 360-degree organizing, communications, digital and advocacy campaign. By building and strengthening coalitions, mobilizing our 2.4 million members and supporters and keeping the pressure high on both U.S. leaders and those around the world, the Sierra Club will push for an end to all fossil fuel subsidies within the next four years. We'll be tackling this issue at all levels of government and are prepared to elevate this issue in the weeks to come as the world prepares to ratify the Paris agreement.