“We need to tax pollution, not people, and to end subsidies for fossil fuels…. What we are doing is using taxpayers’ money – which means our money – to boost hurricanes, to spread droughts, to melt glaciers, to bleach corals. In one word – to destroy the world. As taxpayers, I believe we would like to see our money back rather than to see our money used to destroy the world.”UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, May 2019
In a climate emergency, the UK Government is spending billions of pounds each year propping up the fossil fuel industry at home and overseas. This is driving up carbon emissions.
The Covid-19 health and economic crisis could make this situation even worse as governments decide on whether to spend trillions on rescue packages for fossil fuel and high-carbon industries as well as on stimulus packages to re-start their economies.
It is essential that the UK Government takes this opportunity to ‘build back better’ by giving no ‘no-strings’ bailouts of fossil fuel and high-carbon industries and by ensuring that stimulus packages are geared to investing in the zero-carbon economy.
We demand that the UK Government tells the truth about its fossil fuel subsidies and shifts taxpayers’ money from fossil fuels and industrial-scale bioenergy (from land-use change) into energy efficiency, non-emissive renewable energy, public transport and nature restoration. The UK Government also needs to show leadership in COP 26 and other international meetings to advocate and support urgent international action to be taken to end fossil fuel subsidies.