Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fossil-Fuel Subsidies Will Be Phased Out, Say G-20 Leaders

Leaders of the G-20 nations, who met in Pittsburgh last week, pledged on Friday to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels in the "medium term."

It's a small step, outlined in vague language, but it indicates a desire to cut dependence on fossil fuels over time.

The G-20 agreement protects aid from rich nations that help developing countries pay for conventional energy, subsidize renewable energy and combat the effects of climate change.

Environmentalists welcomed the pledge. They look forward to more concrete language on financial aid in the next round of G-20 climate talks in Copenhagen in November, when a climate-change treaty will be negotiated.

Oil and natural gas industry executives in the U.S. said reducing subsidies would raise costs on consumers.

Decisions by the G-20 countries carry much weight, as the council represents economies that account for 85% of the world's GDP and 66% of its population. G-20 nations are:
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • European Union, represented by the rotating Council presidency and the European Central Bank.
The G-20 will replace the G-8 as the world's leading economic council.

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