Build back better? Pandemic sees G7 nations give billions more to fossil fuels than green energy

The Eco Experts

The countries in the G7 have ploughed £37 billion more into supporting the fossil fuel industry than the green energy sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite pledges to “build back better”.

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US supported coal, gas, and oil to the tune of £134 billion between January 2020 and March 2021, compared to the £104 billion they dedicated to clean energy.

More than 80% of this fossil fuel funding was given without conditions for companies like airlines to cut their carbon emissions, meaning they can keep polluting the world without consequences.

The analysis from development charity Tearfund casts doubt on the idea that these nations – who are meeting for a G7 summit in Cornwall from 11-13 June – will follow through on commitments they’ve made to fight climate change.

UK undercuts nice words with dirty money

The UK is one of the worst offenders.

The host of this year’s G7 summit has been praised for its promise to cut carbon emissions by 68% by 2030, and was the first to enshrine a net-zero target in law – but actions speak louder than words.

Boris Johnson’s government has dedicated £42 billion to supporting fossil fuels – more than any other G7 nation apart from the US – and only 4.7% of that figure comes with conditions designed to reduce carbon emissions.

In contrast, the UK has pledged £27.8 billion to green sources, of which 43.8% is conditional.

Have any G7 nations actually built back better?

Yes, thankfully.

Japan is the star of the show, having committed 92% of its energy spending to green sources since January 2020, while Canada has also dedicated the majority of its expenditure – 54% – to clean energy.

France and Germany have given practically exactly the same amounts to both fossil fuels and clean energy.

But the US, the UK, and Italy have all let the world down.

The US and the UK have spent more on coal, gas, and oil than the rest of the G7 combined, while Italy dedicated 81% of their energy expenditure to fossil fuels.

There’s no reason why these nations – which respectively rank first, fifth, and eighth for GDP (Gross Domestic Product) – shouldn’t commit to green energy to the same level Japan (ranked third) and Canada (ninth) have, and dump fossil fuels in the process.

Written by:
josh jackman
Josh has written about eco-friendly home improvements and climate change for the past four years. His work has been displayed on the front page of the Financial Times, he's been interviewed by BBC One's Rip-Off Britain, and he regularly features in The Telegraph and on BBC Radio.
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