“The European Green Deal is clear: fossil fuel subsidies have to end”...as stated by the EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, referring to the EU’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
What is more, Kadri Simson said that fossil fuels remain a vital impediment to a cost-efficient energy and climate transition, but also to a functioning internal market.
Following a Commission report published this month, EU countries spent 159 billion euros ($188 billion) on energy subsidies in 2018, as almost a third of that went on fossil fuels.
Fossil fuel subsidies among the EU’s 27 countries increased by 6% from 2015-2018, though some, including Austria, Denmark, Estonia and Hungary, bucked the trend.
In light of the situation, the EU Commission will reform EU tax rules next year, in an effort to tackle exemptions for some fuels.
In fact, Simson said that the Commission will work with member states to end polluting subsidies.
As noted, a sharp drop in fossil fuel use and massive investments in low-carbon energy is needed to reach Europe’s climate goals.
However, EU climate policies do not envisage an immediate fossil fuel phase-out, as some countries plan to switch from coal to less polluting gas, or use gas plus carbon capture technology to produce hydrogen.
“In the beginning of this huge transition, we will still need fossil fuels,” as EU lawmaker Bart Groothuis told Reuters.