Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

G20 governments' pandemic recovery packages are steering much more funding to fossil fuel industries and energy-intensive sectors like airlines than "clean" energy, an Energy Policy Tracker project from several think tanks and activist groups shows.

Why it matters: International agencies like the United Nations and International Monetary Fund have been urging governments to prioritize climate-friendly energy in economic recovery packages.

By the numbers: According to the new database, thus far G20 governments' commitments provide...

  • $151 billion for policies "supporting production or consumption of fossil fuels."
  • Of that amount, only $30 billion comes with climate targets or new emissions requirements.
  • Meanwhile, $89 billion has been steered toward "clean" sectors like energy efficiency, solar and wind.
  • There's another $28 billion in the "other energy" category that doesn't fall into their "fossil" or "clean" taxonomy, such as " biofuels and hydrogen of unspecified origin."

Yes, but: Quartz points out an important caveat.

  • "This analysis only counts funding that has been officially committed. Stimulus funds that are still in discussion, like the European Union’s $850 billion green recovery plan, are not included," the piece notes.
  • The groups plan to update the tracking tool on a weekly basis as more recovery spending is approved.

The big picture: “National and subnational jurisdictions that heavily subsidized the production and consumption of fossil fuels in previous years have once again thrown lifelines to oil, gas, coal, and fossil fuel-powered electricity," said Ivetta Gerasimchuk of the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

  • Her group launched the project with organizations including the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, the activist group Oil Change International, the Overseas Development Institute and others.

Go deeper

Oct 22, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: How the pandemic has changed the energy industry

Axios will host a conversation on Wednesday, October 28 at 12:30pm ET on how the pandemic has affected the environment and the energy industry and how these shifts will have a lasting impact on the private sector's approach to renewable energy, featuring Sunrun co-founder and CEO Lynn Jurich and New York's Deputy Secretary for Energy and Environment Ali Zaidi.

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