Human Rights Watch Q&A on ECA Fossil Fuel Subsidies

(Human Rights Watch, New York, 7 June 2021) Government financial support for fossil fuels, including through subsidies, presents a key obstacle to achieving emissions reductions urgently needed to address the climate crisis. Subsidies artificially reduce the costs of fossil fuel production and use, driving continued fossil fuel dependence at a time when governments should be rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels toward clean, renewable energies like wind and solar. Human Rights Watch has documented how climate change in Canada is depleting Indigenous peoples’ access to traditional food sources and in Colombia, showed how more frequent droughts are worsening malnutrition among Indigenous children. In the US, extreme heat is linked to adverse birth outcomes. These are only a few of the growing impacts experienced around the world that are expected to intensify as temperatures continue to rise in coming years. As of 2019, G20 governments, representing the world’s major economies, supported coal, oil, and gas production and consumption by, on average, $548 billion per year. A significant disparity in support also exists in international public finance, such as from export credit agencies. G20 countries provided at least $77 billion a year through their international public finance institutions.