Administration Can Cut Domestic Coal Subsidies and Enhance U.S. Climate Leadership at the G-20 Summit, UNFCCC Climate Conference in Paris

 President at 2014 G-20 summit

President Barack Obama gestures as he answers a question from the media during a press conference at the conclusion of the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, November 16, 2014.  Source: AP/Rob Griffith

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)–November 13, 2015.  The United States and other countries’ commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies were one of the highlights of the G-20 summit in 2009. Since then, some progress has been made globally but not nearly enough, and the Obama administration’s efforts have been undercut by Congress’ refusal to cut these subsidies. A Center for American Progress column released today explains that doing away with inefficient subsidies for coal produced on federal lands will enhance U.S. climate leadership at the G-20 summit and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, conference in Paris next month, as well as increase momentum for a strong international climate agreement.

“Domestic progress on fossil fuel subsidy phaseout would strengthen the administration’s hand in persuading other countries to fulfill their commitment to cutting inefficient fossil fuel subsidies at the G-20 and at the climate negotiations in Paris,” said Pete Ogden, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the column.

The federal coal program, administered by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management, currently provides billions of dollars annually in inefficient fossil fuel subsidies to companies mining coal on publicly owned lands. The authors recommend three concrete steps that the administration can take through executive action to cut these subsidies: end the sale of coal at below-market value; eliminate subsidies for the transport and washing of coal; and end subsidies that promote the mining of coal that otherwise would be economically unviable.

“The federal coal program as it exists today is outdated and costing taxpayers and western states billions of dollars in lost revenue. The time is ripe for the administration to take more robust actions to modernize and fix this program by eliminating subsidies,” said Nidhi Thakar, Deputy Director of the Public Lands Project and co-author of the column.

Click here to read the column.