Ahead of G20, Enviros Warn Obama on TTIP, Fossil Fuel Subsidies

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Kelly Trout
Email: ktrout@foe.org
Phone: 202-222-0722

Ahead of G20, Enviros Warn Obama on TTIP, Fossil Fuel Subsidies

WASHINGTON - Ahead of the G20 summit September 4 and 5 in Hangzhou, China, more than a dozen environmental organizations sent a letter to President Obama highlighting the dangers the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership -- TTIP -- poses to his climate legacy.

Under President Obama’s leadership in 2009, the G20 first committed to a phaseout of “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.” This commitment could be undermined if TTIP, a free trade deal under negotiation between the U.S. and the European Union, is finalized with the proposed language from the European Union. Based on European proposals, TTIP would allow G20 countries to maintain fossil fuel subsidies for undefined “economic” and “security of supply” reasons, a potential loophole that could leave intact billions in polluter handouts. According to one estimate, total subsidies to fossil fuel producers throughout G20 countries runs to an annual $444 billion.

The letter urges President Obama to protect the G20 commitment from polluter-friendly trade deals like TTIP and highlights other worrying provisions from the draft, including measures that would undermine energy efficiency standards and expedite the export of liquefied natural gas.

“Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies would prevent billions from pouring into the pockets of Big Coal, Oil, and Gas each year, and corporate trade deals can’t stand in the way,” said Ilana Solomon, director of the Responsible Trade Program at the Sierra Club. “Instead, corporate trade deals like TTIP must be replaced with a new model of trade that supports, not hinders, climate progress.”

“When it comes to climate action, President Obama’s biggest blind spot is still corporate trade,” said Ben Schreiber, director of the Climate Program at Friends of the Earth. “Trade deals like TTIP are corporate power grabs that have to be stopped.”

“If governments are serious about the Paris climate change agreement, they have to stop giving subsidies to fossil fuel companies” said Alex Doukas, senior campaigner at Oil Change International. “We can’t allow trade deals like TTIP to let governments weasel out of their commitment to end dirty fossil fuel subsidies.”

"Current trade deals give big oil and gas corporations a second and third bite of the apple to avoid democratic accountability. The only way forward is to stop the massive giveaways to the Exxons of the world and the first step is to stop the TPP," said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity.

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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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