500 billion reasons for change

Every year, governments from all over the world spend over USD500 billion to make oil, gas, coal, and other fossil fuels cheaper to produce and buy. 

$500 billion to incentivise greenhouse gas emitting fuels seems counter intuitive when the world is working together to put the brakes on climate change. So New Zealand is taking a stand, and is a leading advocate for the reduction, and ultimately elimination, of fossil fuel subsidies internationally.


It’s been said that ending subsidies on fossil fuels is one of the missing pieces of the climate change puzzle and that removing these subsidies would substantially contribute to limiting global warming to 1.5°C degrees above pre-industrial levels – in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

While there is general agreement that things need to change, progress has been slow, so to get things moving New Zealand is harnessing global trade rules. Ninety-eight percent of world trade is bound by the rules of the World Trade Organisation, so, if new rules discouraging fossil fuel subsidies were collectively developed and introduced, there could be genuine and meaningful change for the climate and the global economy.


All good things take time, including transformative change! Industries and workers associated with fossil fuels often fear job losses, and consumers are understandably reluctant to accept higher fuel prices which is why a just transition is so important.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. New Zealand has been working to advance this issue at the WTO and APEC, and also encouraging G7 and G20 members to do the same. Some countries have already made enormous strides in reducing support for fossil fuels and have reaped the rewards from divesting away from fossil fuels.

So, if you believe in trying to change the world for future generations… we know a place.

Find out more about how New Zealand is pushing for change here.