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03 Jul 2020, 12:35
Edgar Meza

Germany subsidises fossil fuel sector with 37.5 billion euros a year – media report

Investigate Europe / Tagesspiegel Background

While the EU aims to tackle the climate crisis with its Green Deal, member states, including Germany, continue to subsidise fossil fuels to the tune of 137 billion euros a year, according to a report by Investigate Europe. Germany is the biggest backer of fossil fuels, spending some 37.5 billion euros a year in support of energy intensive industry, combustion engine vehicles, coal, aviation, shipping, domestic fuel use and petrol and diesel. By comparison, support for fossil fuels in other major EU countries is considerably less: the UK spends 19 billion euros on subsidies, Italy 18.3 billion euros, France 17.5 billion euros and Spain only 3.4 billion euros a year.

Despite plans for a Green Deal, the actions of many EU member states “show a pattern of climate hypocrisy”, Investigate Europe writes. “While Europe is trying to achieve an energy transition with hundreds of billions of euros spent on the ambitious Green Deal, all European member states with fiscal regulations and tax advantages are also maintaining their fossil sector,” the investigative journalism group adds. If the practice does not change, the EU's common climate goals will not be achievable, according to Frans Timmermans, European Commission executive vice-president for the European Green Deal. Decisive decisions have to now be made, he adds.

German taxpayers spend more than 5.4 billion euros annually subsidising energy intensive industry, 3.1 billion euros on combustion engine vehicles and 12.5 billion in support for the aviation sector and 11.5 billion euros in tax breaks and refunds for petrol and diesel, according to Investigate Europe.

The government of German chancellor Angela Merkel has thrown its weight behind the European Union's Green Deal and has made climate action one of the priorities of its EU presidency in the second half of 2020. However, environmentalists and climate researchers have long criticsed the home country of the Energiewende for being too slow to bid farewell to coal-fired power generation and combustion engine cars, long the trademark of its prized car industry.

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