Campaigners step up pressure to end fossil fuel subsidies

Campaign groups Avaaz and 350.org are leading fresh attempts to end fossil fuel subsidies

The organisations are calling on governments to act after G20 nations agreed in 2009 to phase out subsidies for oil, coal and other fuels that contribute to climate change. However, in the three years since the agreement, subsidies have increased by $230bn worldwide.

Avaaz are aiming to get the issue back on the agenda for the G20 meeting on 18-19 June 2012, with the hope of the issue then being discussed at Rio+20, the United Nations sustainable development conference beginning 20 June. The group are calling on people to sign a petition addressed to the G20 leaders asking them to act on their promises.

In the US a new 350.org campaign has launched, aimed at putting an end to all the nation’s fossil fuel subsidies. The campaign will focus on pushing through a new piece of legislation called the End Polluter Welfare Act. Introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives on 10 May 2012, if passed it would save US taxpayers $110bn over the next ten years, according to 350.org.

The group believes that changes in legislation could be thwarted by the lobbying power of the fossil fuel industry and therefore the campaign will focus on gaining public support. Early indications suggest that Americans would be in favour of such a change, with an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing that 74% of citizens would support the elimination of tax credits for the oil and gas industries.

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