End fossil fuel subsidies without further delay

End fossil fuel subsidies without further delay

Green Budget Europe Director James Nix writes in today’s Financial Times:

On June 1, six of Europe’s largest oil and gas companies (BG, BP, Eni, Shell, Statoil and Total) wrote to the UN calling for carbon taxation. This is a welcome development, signifying that many major fossil fuel companies now acknowledge the damage their products do to the world’s climate and, by extension, its inhabitants, present and future. Many commentators have turned to the question of what the level of tax should be, and whether there should be regional variations. This matter will take time to work out.

Immediately, however, all governments can embrace the companies’ change of position by ending fossil fuel subsidies without delay. Implicit in supporting carbon taxation is that taxpayer-funded subsidies to aid the extraction of fossil fuels must end.

As with the ending of any public support, it is a comfort for governments to know the recipients of such funds no longer see them as desirable. The next step for the six companies involved is to make public their support to work proactively with governments in consigning these damaging subventions to history.

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