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G20 leaders agree to phase out fossil fuel subsidies

by Staff Writers
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (AFP) Sept 23, 2009
Leaders of emerging and developed nations agreed Friday to a US plan to phase out government subsidies for fossil fuel blamed for global warming, a joint statement said.

"We commit to rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption," the leaders said after a two-day Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh.

The leaders asked their energy and finance ministers to "develop implementation strategies and time frames" for the phasing out of the subsidies.

"We call on all nations to adopt policies that will phase out such subsidies worldwide," the statement said.

The leaders however underlined "the importance of providing those in need with essential energy services, including through the use of targeted cash transfers and other appropriate mechanisms."

The US plan was part of efforts to combat climate change, enhance energy security, improve public health and the environment, promote faster economic growth and support more effective targeting of government resources for the poor, officials said.

Key G20 nations China, India, Russia and Brazil reportedly are among the top spenders of fossil fuel subsidies and are unlikely to easily agree to any plans to slash them.

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