A new report by Oil Change International has found wealthy nations are spending five times more money on fossil fuel subsidies than climate aid. In 2011, rich nations spent $58 billion on subsidies and just $11 billion for climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. According to the study, the United States spent $13 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2011 and just $2.5 billion in climate aid. We’re joined by David Turnbull, campaigns director of Oil Change International. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, and we’re broadcasting live from Doha, Qatar, from the U.N. climate change summit. And we’re talking fast. There is so much to pack in this week. We’re here throughout the week.
A new report by Oil Change International has found wealthy nations are spending five times more money on fossil fuel subsidies than on climate aid. In 2011, rich nations spent $58 billion on subsidies and just $11 billion for climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. According to the study, the United States spent $13 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2011 and just $2.5 billion in climate aid. On Monday U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern was asked about the fuel subsidies. Climate—
Today we’re joined by David Turnbull, campaigns director of Oil Change International, the former director at Climate Action Network.
Welcome to Democracy Now! Talk about this report. And what exactly does "climate aid" mean?
DAVID TURNBULL: Well, so, you know, in the halls here in Doha, where the negotiators are talking about how they can help to support developing countries adapt and act on climate change—and what we found is that that support is really lacking. Developing countries are in need of at least $100 billion per year in 2020. And what we’re seeing is that fossil fuel subsidies from the rich countries that could help support that need for adaptation and mitigation efforts, the developed countries are supporting fossil fuel subsidies at five times the rate of the climate finance.
AMY GOODMAN: Where does the Export-Import Bank fit into this?
DAVID TURNBULL: The Export-Import Bank today—this last week, we have a report out that shows that they’re supporting fossil fuel industry at a rate of $11 billion a year, and that’s far more than what they need to. In the context of President Obama talking about the need to end fossil fuel subsidies, it’s just simply inconsistent.
AMY GOODMAN: So, what is the U.S. role in the Export-Import Bank?
DAVID TURNBULL: Well, the U.S. is—this is how they help to finance projects of energy and different fossil fuel infrastructure projects around the world in developing countries. They help to give new financing. They help to give different ways of supporting fossil fuel infrastructure. And instead of supporting renewable energies, they’re supporting fossil fuels.
AMY GOODMAN: What is the money you feel that the United States should be paying instead?
DAVID TURNBULL: Well, you know, the actual specific amount that the United States should be helping with providing for climate finance, you know, it needs to pay its fair share of the $100 billion. So, if you look at the different—
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, $100 billion?
DAVID TURNBULL: The $100 billion of the climate finance that’s needed by developing countries in this process.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s just clarify. Democracy Now! broadcast from the Copenhagen Summit when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—
DAVID TURNBULL: Exactly.
AMY GOODMAN: —announced that the world would give $100 billion to deal—
DAVID TURNBULL: Right.
AMY GOODMAN: —with climate debt, climate aid.
DAVID TURNBULL: Exactly, right.
AMY GOODMAN: Has it been paid?
DAVID TURNBULL: Well, so that is for 2020. In the short term, there was $30 billion over the first three years up until now. And there’s debates about whether that’s been paid. It’s been relatively low. But what we’re seeing is that the fossil fuel subsidies that are coming out in those same years are tremendously higher, five times higher.
AMY GOODMAN: So, who is—in the United States, talk about the politics of this. Why?
DAVID TURNBULL: Right. Well, so, here in the United States, you know, the fossil fuel industry is spending millions upon millions of dollars trying to influence the Congress to support these fossil fuel subsidies. Just right now, there’s a $2 million ad campaign being placed by the American Petroleum Institute that’s trying to support and ensure that those subsidies stay in place in the context of the budget negotiations, when in fact we know that this is a great source of additional revenue and potential, you know, solution, or one part of the solution, to the budget crisis.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much for being with us. David Turnbull is campaigns director of Oil Change International.