‘Shift the Subsidies’, an interactive database financed by Oil Change International, says it has collated all known institutional loans, grants, and financial guarantees to the energy sector since 2008.
It has found that that while over $40 billion has been made available to fossil fuel energy development, clean energy projects received $25.5 billion.
The news will hit EU hopes at the Durban Climate Summit that development banks and carbon markets will provide the majority of the $100 billion a year needed to finance and implement the Green Climate Fund agreed a year ago.
Jonathan Pershing, the American deputy special envoy on climate change, said on 28 November at the South African summit that Washington’s contributions to the climate fund agreed at the Copenhagen Summit in 2009 included financing from multilateral banks.
“If the U.S. is going to claim credit for fast-start finance commitments for clean energy projects, it's only fair that they be docked for their fossil fuel finance from the same institutions” said Steve Kretzmann, the director of Oil Change International.
“Unfortunately, as this new database shows, the US and all developed nations continue to support fossil fuels significantly more than clean energy”.
Carbon price crash
Other forms of clean energy investment are also suffering from an uncertainty over the future role of carbon credits, which has already fuelled a record price collapse in the carbon market.
Between 2008 and 2010, new investment in the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which allows rich nations to offset their carbon emissions by funding emissions-reduction projects in the developing world, fell by 80% to $1.5 billion.
“I fear that will be smaller again” this year, said Ben Caldecott, head of European policy at Climate Change Capital, a London-based investment management and advisory group.
On Tuesday (29 November), shares in firms set up to curb pollution plummeted, while the price of some certified emissions reductions credits (CERs) fell 20% in just one week to below €5 a tonne.
CERs have lost over half of their value in 2011 as the end of the first binding emissions reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol draws closer.
“I don’t think many in the private sector expect much in the way of progress on the big issues at Durban, including a new set of Kyoto targets,” Henry Derwent, president of the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), told EurActiv.
Derwent was hopeful that progress could be made on “small issues” such as the architecture of the Green Climate Fund, and the design of new market-based mechanisms such as REDD.
“But it would be good if we were closer to agreeing something that would limit or at least work out the size the gap in terms of formal targets we are likely to be facing after 2012,” he said.