EU Energy Policy: OECD Data Pointing to Major Discrepancies

Written by | Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

According to the latest OECD data, rich countries spent approximately five times more on export subsidies for fossil-fuel technology than on renewable energy over past ten years. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) thinks that the statistics on export credits is a vital part of the discussion on targeting funding before the UN climate talks take place in Paris at the end of this year. The data underlines the scale of the investment of advanced countries in exporting technology for the biggest pollutants just when the European Union is trying to promote a global deal on curbing emissions and to get rid of domestic coal subsidies.

Other OECD documents provide even more insights on all energy export subsidies. One document from this year reveals, for instance, that OECD countries provided state-backed guarantees and preferential loans worth almost $37 billion between 2003 and 2013 for exporting fossil fuel power-generation technology, including $14 billion for coal. Another document from the end of 2014 shows that almost $53 billion was granted in export credits targeted at the extraction of coal and other fossil fuels.

At the same time, export credits for renewable energy technology were worth only $16.7 billion. Interestingly, an OECD spokesperson said that he could not comment on the data, although documents themselves say that the figures should be public. “There would seem to be a pressing need to issue coherent, complete and accurate figures on official export credit support that is relevant to climate change issues,” this year’s document says. The EU accounts for two thirds of OECD nations but the debate on fossil fuels is deadlocked due to Poland, whose economy is heavily dependent on coal. Warsaw sees the EU’s vision to allow export funding for only most efficient coal technology as too ambitious.

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