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G20's financing of fossil fuels outweighs renewables says study

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Fossil fuels received four times more than clean energy in public financing from Group of 20 member countries, according to a report by environmental groups that urged more financing be directed to renewables to address climate change.

[TOKYO] Fossil fuels received four times more than clean energy in public financing from Group of 20 member countries, according to a report by environmental groups that urged more financing be directed to renewables to address climate change.

Financing for oil, gas and coal projects from G20 public finance institutions and multilateral development banks averaged US$71.8 billion per year between 2013 and 2015, according to a report released by Oil Change International, Friends of the Earth US, the Sierra Club and WWF European Policy Office. That compares with US$18.7 billion annually provided to support clean energy.

The report came after US President Donald Trump vowed to usher in an era of "energy dominance" last week with plans such as lifting barriers to finance overseas coal energy plants and pulling the US out of the Paris accord. Germany will host world leaders at a G-20 conference in Hamburg this week.

"Our research shows that the G20 still hasn't put its money where its mouth is when it comes to the clean-energy transition," Alex Doukas, senior campaigner at Oil Change International and one of the report's authors, said in a statement.

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"If other G20 governments are serious about standing up to Trump's climate denial and meeting their commitments under the Paris Agreement, they need to stop propping up the outdated fossil fuel industry with public money."

Of the US$71.8 billion in public finance, US$13.5 billion went to exploration for new reserves of oil, gas and coal, according to the report. Japan provided the most exploration finance at US$3.4 billion a year, followed by South Korea's US$1.6 billion. The US and China provided US$1.4 billion each.

The groups analysed public support for energy projects from G20 public finance institutions such as overseas development aid agencies and export credit agencies, as well as multilateral development banks such as the World Bank.

"If G20 leaders are serious about meeting climate goals, they must undertake rapid and ambitious efforts to shift public finance from 'brown' to 'green' activities," authors of the report said.

"This is a significant step they can take even without the cooperation of Donald Trump."

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