Skip to content

G20 Nations Still In Thrall To Big Oil!

November 15, 2018

By Paul Homewood


h/t Robin Guenier


Another highly misleading article from the Guardian:



Climate action is way off course in all but one of the world’s 20 biggest economies, according to a report that shows politicians are paying more heed to the fossil fuel industry than to advice from scientists.

Among the G20 nations 15 reported a rise in emissions last year, according to the most comprehensive stock-take to date of progress towards the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

The paper, by the global partnership Climate Transparency, found 82% of energy in these countries still being provided by coal, oil and gas, a factor which has relied on an increase of about 50% in subsidies over the past 10 years to compete with increasingly cheap wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.

The G20 nations spent $147bn (£114bn) on subsidies in 2016, although they pledged to phase them out more than 10 years ago.

Governments have said they will change, but on current commitments the world is on course for a 3.2C rise in average global temperatures, more than double the lower Paris threshold of 1.5C, which scientists have said represents the last chance to save coral reefs, the Arctic ecosystem and the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people at risk of increased drought, flooding and forest fires.

“The gap is still very big,” said Jan Burck, one of the authors of the report. “The G20 is not moving fast enough.”

Comparing the goals and policies of different countries, the paper found that only India was on course to stay below the upper limit set by the Paris agreement of 2C, while the worst offenders – Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – would take the world beyond 4C.

China, the world’s biggest emitter, stabilised its releases of carbon for a couple of years by reducing dependency on coal, but this positive trend slipped last year. Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina have promised to cut deforestation but the destruction rate of forests shows no sign of reversing.

Britain has made the fastest transition, with a 7.7% decline in the use of fossil fuels between 2012 and 2015, but the report warned that this could stall in the years ahead because the government had cut support for feed-in tariffs, energy efficiency and zero-carbon homes.

The authors said political pressures in the G20 countries, with more subsidies for fossil fuels, were working against effective climate action.

“There is a huge fight by the fossil fuel industry against cheap renewables. The old economy is well organised and they have put huge lobbying pressure on governments to spend tax money to subsidise the old world,” Burck said.

These political pressures are likely to intensify as governments are called upon to extend emissions cuts to the transport and agriculture sectors. The report said G20 emissions needed to start declining in the next two years and halve by 2030 if the world were to avoid more than 1.5C of warming, though not one country in the group had set a credible target to do this.

The UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland, in December –the COP24 conference – will start a two-year process for governments to deliver on their commitments to reduce emissions. Although there are national leaders hostile to tackling climate change, such as in the US and Brazil, there is still hope they will be open to taking their share of the responsibility.

Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the UN framework convention on climate change, said: “Global emissions need to peak in 2020. The Brown-to-Green report provides us with an independent stock-take on where we stand now. This is valuable information for countries when they declare their contribution in 2020.”


There is little in the paper by Climate Transparency that we have not already heard loads of times from other climate kooks.

It ‘s all the fault of the wicked oil companies! (Question – what would the Guardian like them to do – cut output by 50% tomorrow?)

And in many ways, Climate Transparency spend a lot of time telling us what we already knew – that fossil fuels still dominate the world’s energy supply, and none of the green virtue signalling at Paris did anything to alter that in the foreseeable future.

Nevertheless, let’s take a closer look at a couple of the more risible claims:


1) Comparing the goals and policies of different countries, the paper found that only India was on course to stay below the upper limit set by the Paris agreement of 2C,



You would think from this that India was going to start actually cutting emissions. But this is the world of climate kook double speak!


And this is what the Climate Action Tracker shows for India:


With the adoption of India’s final National Electricity Plan (NEP) (released in April 2018) the country remains on track to overachieving its “2˚C-compatible” rated Paris Agreement NDC climate action targets. On present estimates, India could achieve part of its NDC goals—a 40% non-fossil-based power capacity by 2030—as early as the end of this year, 2018, a full 12 years earlier than targeted.


Although they say that India’s NDC was “2C compatible”, in fact this simply means that it fell within the country’s “fair share range”. In other words, within an overall global objective some countries were allowed to increase emissions out of some concept of “fairness”.

As you can see from the black (historical) and blue (projected) lines, emissions of CO will carry on rapidly climbing in India, at least until 2030.

Whether any of this is “fair” or not, the reality is that India is on course to overtake the US as the world’s second largest emitter by 2040, even if it hits all of its renewable goals:





In any event, India’s NDC was so never intended to be any sort of a challenge, but more business as usual.

For instance, the commitment to a 40% non-fossil-based power capacity by 2030 might sound impressive. But as a recent, and rather more critical, study showed:

However, India’s commitments were in reality fairly modest and are inconsistent with domestic achievements and progress. For instance, as of October 2015, when India submitted its NDC, non-fossil fuel electricity capacity was already 30% and it stood at more than 34% at the end of 2017.

2) The paper, by the global partnership Climate Transparency, found 82% of energy in these countries still being provided by coal, oil and gas, a factor which has relied on an increase of about 50% in subsidies over the past 10 years to compete with increasingly cheap wind, solar and other renewable energy sources

The implication that “fossil fuel subsidies” have stopped renewable sources competing is absurd.

As I have repeatedly shown, there are no such subsidies in the UK, despite the claim again appearing in the Climate Transparency paper, as below:



But I thought for a change I would look at the case of Italy, about who they say:




And just what might these “consumption-based subsidies” be? As a  study of fossil fuel subsidies by ODI last year explained, most of these lie in the transport sector, and reflect a reduced excise tax rate for diesel, compared to petrol. ODI reckon that the diesel tax is effectively 23% cheaper than for petrol, in terms of energy content.

I’m not sure if the rates below are up to date, but they give a pretty good idea.


Many governments fiddled around with diesel tax rates, to supposedly encourage a less CO2 intensive fuel. But whether diesel tax is lower than petrol tax, or petrol tax is higher is rather missing the point! The fact is that car drivers still pay through the nose in tax for diesel. The accusation that the tax is somehow stopping renewable energy from competing is absurd.

The rest of the ODI report follows the same Alice in Wonderland logic. VAT breaks for electricity use in homes are regarded as a “fossil fuel subsidy”, to the extent that fossil fuels supply 60% of Italy’s power). And a reduced rate of diesel excise tax for agriculture is also claimed to be a subsidy (even though 78% of the excise is still paid).


There is only one reason why fossil fuels dominate the world’s energy consumption, and will continue to for a very long time to come. They are the only thing that works, that can keep the world’s global economy ticking along, and will allow developing countries to catch up with richer ones.

Unreliable renewable energy is simply not capable of taking over.

The thought of abandoning fossil fuels over the space of a decade or so, all in the pursuit of some mad green fantasy, should be enough to fill most normal people with dread.

  1. Jon Scott permalink
    November 15, 2018 7:30 pm

    I just love the default warm fluffy animal picture ( Nice coral) then have to include. These charlatans are all about emotion not facts because they have no real facts so over bweeding polar bears and non endangered kowals ( they think) will make us not pay too much attention to their twaddle and toe the emotional line…pathetic!

  2. November 15, 2018 7:42 pm

    The few Grauniad readers there are (mostly employed by the BBC or members of the Greenblob) will lap up this propaganda. It’s best to totally ignore such BS.

    • Chilli permalink
      November 15, 2018 8:27 pm

      Wow! What a shambles. I see the legal action was brought by a company calling themselves Tempus Energy – staffed by the usual suspects from the Green Blob

      Bryony Worthington! (She gets around) plus an ex-chairman of National Grid, ex HM Treasury advisor and a Stern Review author and a bunch from the Libyan School Of Economics.

  3. bobn permalink
    November 15, 2018 7:54 pm


    Climate Scientists Admit To Major Math Error After Global Warming Study Debunked

    The co-author of a widely-cited global warming study has owned up to a major math error uncovered six days after its Oct. 31 publication by an independent scientist.

    The study used a new method of measuring the ocean’s absorption of heat, and concluded – through incorrect math – that 60% more heat had been absorbed than previously thought.

    The report was covered or referenced by MSM outlets worldwide, including the Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, Reuters and others.

    Shortly after the article was published, however, independent UK-based researcher Nicholas Lewis published a comprehensive blog post, claiming he had found a “major problem” with the research.

    “So far as I can see, their method vastly underestimates the uncertainty,” Lewis said in an interview Tuesday, “as well as biasing up significantly, nearly 30 percent, the central estimate.”

    Lewis has argued in past studies and commentaries that climate scientists are predicting too much warming because of their reliance on computer simulations, and that current data from the planet itself suggests global warming will be less severe than feared.

    “When we were confronted with his insight it became immediately clear there was an issue there,” said Ralph Keeling, a scientist with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography who co-authored the paper with Princeton University scientist and lead author, Laure Resplandy. “We’re grateful to have it be pointed out quickly so that we could correct it quickly.”

    Keeling said they have since redone the calculations, finding the ocean is still likely warmer than the estimate used by the IPCC. However, that increase in heat has a larger range of probability than initially thought — between 10 percent and 70 percent, as other studies have already found.

    “Our error margins are too big now to really weigh in on the precise amount of warming that’s going on in the ocean,” Keeling said. “We really muffed the error margins.”

    “I accept responsibility for what happened because it’s my role to make sure that those kind of details got conveyed,” Keeling told the Washington Post on Tuesday.

    The scientists have submitted a correction to the journal Nature, which published the study.



    • November 16, 2018 12:43 pm

      Excellent. However, I would make a change to the following which I also saw as a headline several days ago on FB newsfeed: “Climate Scientists Admit To Major Math Error After Global Warming Study Debunked.”

      I would rewrite it to reflect reality: “Damn, We Got Caught.”

      • Gerry, England permalink
        November 16, 2018 1:53 pm

        I am amazed that a) they admitted it; and b) even apologised for it. These can’t be real climate science fictionists surely? Can you imagine Hockey Stick Mike doing this?

  4. Jon Scott permalink
    November 15, 2018 9:05 pm

    Is this the same Guardian who claim when you open their webpage with a begging letter…..”The Guardian is editorially independent – Our journalism is free from the influence of billionaire owners or politicians. None edits our editor. None steers our opinion”. …….Well that sounds very similar to the outrageous “U kann trust us for Kwality Noos” statement from the Biased Broadcasting Collective (BBC). So “If” the Gruaniad Editorial is SO independent WHY does it consistently toe the line I wonder?

    • November 19, 2018 9:00 pm

      wikispooks has a page for the scott trust ltd, the parent group, with much the same Q&A

  5. Bitter@twisted permalink
    November 15, 2018 9:47 pm

    “Cheap renewables”😂😂😂

  6. manicbeancounter permalink
    November 15, 2018 11:02 pm

    By the same logic, if a local Chicago mobster in the prohibition era decided to reduce the “protection” premium to their local drugstore to stop it going out of business, the mobster would be “subsidizing” the venture.

  7. November 15, 2018 11:14 pm

    I really do wonder what the Guardian hopes to achieve. To me it is little more than a Greenblob propaganda machine.

    • November 16, 2018 9:38 am

      All for free as well 😉

    • November 16, 2018 12:45 pm

      It is a case of the “faculty lounge” talking to the “faculty lounge.” It is for them and their like-minded pals to high 5 and nod in agreement.

  8. Gamecock permalink
    November 17, 2018 2:04 pm

    ‘The paper, by the global partnership Climate Transparency, found 82% of energy in these countries still being provided by coal, oil and gas, a factor which has relied on an increase of about 50% in subsidies over the past 10 years to compete with increasingly cheap wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.

    Note the relativistic assertions.

    ‘an increase of about 50% in subsidies’

    Completely unquantified.

    ‘increasingly cheap wind, solar’

    Completely unquantified. “Wind/solar now cost only 4 times conventional sources.”
    Doesn’t sound as good, does it?

    ‘The G20 nations spent $147bn (£114bn) on subsidies in 2016’

    A big lie.

    “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” – Adolf Hitler

  9. Broadlands permalink
    November 17, 2018 5:15 pm

    I suspect they all realize that whatever the size of the “threat” of global warming might be, there is nothing that humans can do about it. But, it’s more important to keep the sky falling and the financial support to study the problem.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: