France backs fight against fossil fuel subsidies ahead of Paris climate change conference

France on Friday endorsed an eight-nation call for fossil fuel reform ahead of this year's international conference on climate change. Governments spent more than 500 billion euros in 2013 on subsidising fossil fuels thus boosting global warming, a statement issued on Fruday claimed.

The Paris climate change conference's logo
The Paris climate change conference's logo

France was the first country not in the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform group to endorse a communiqué calling for cuts to the subsidies.

The group - made up of Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland - accuses the subsidies of harming the environment and economic development and favouring wealthier families, who use more energy.

Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies would reduce the world's greenhouse emissions by 6-13 per cent by 2050, they claim.

France was to join the group in presenting communiqué to the public on Friday afternoon at the World Bank in Washington.

French President François Hollande hopes that a "historic" agreement on climate change will be reached at an international conference in Paris in December.

“It’s important for France to be part of such an effort from many countries around the world to show these subsidies for fossil fuels need to go,” Laura Merrill, senior researcher with Global Subsidies Initiative in Geneva told RFI. “It’s also important from a very practical perspective; France recently committed to end public export credits for coal, basically subsidies to coal from France, and also to push within the EU to phase out subsisidies there to phase out fossil-fuels. So it’s very important.”

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