17 April 2015: A communiqué signed by the members of the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform group calls for countries to prioritize the phase-out of fossil-fuel subsidies ahead of the Paris Climate Change Conference. The Friends are urging all governments to endorse the statement; France and the US are the first countries outside the Friends groups to do so.
The Friends, consisting of Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, emphasize in their Communiqué that the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that a partial phase-out of fossil-fuel subsidies would generate 12% of the total abatement needed by 2020 to maintain the 2°C target as a possibility.
According to the Friends, the endorsement of the Communiqué represents a commitment to climate change mitigation, especially as governments prepare for negotiations at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC, where a global agreement on climate change is expected to be adopted in December 2015. In addition to governments, the Communiqué encourages companies and civil society organizations (CSOs) to join in supporting accelerated action toward the elimination of fossil-fuel subsidies.
The Communiqué was presented to the public by ministers from the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform and France in Washington DC, US, on 17 April 2015. In conjunction with the Communiqué, the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) released a video explaining the drawbacks to maintaining current levels of fossil-fuel subsidization and the opportunities created by freeing funds currently flowing to fossil fuels.
These drawbacks and opportunities are also explained in the Communiqué, which underlines the environmental impacts, regressive nature and health costs of fossil fuels, while reflecting that these funds could be better spent on sustainable development and environmental priorities.