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Press Releases & Updates

13 NOV 2015

G20 a pivotal opportunity to address climate change, migrant crisis and tax dodging

G20 countries spend far more subsidising the coal and oil industry than developed countries provide in adaptation finance to poor and vulnerable countries, said Oxfam today.

G20 leaders are holding their annual meeting in Antalya, Turkey on 15-16 November where climate change, inclusive growth, global tax reform and the refugee and migrant crisis will be on the agenda.

G20 countries spent US$77 billion a year on fossil fuel subsidies during 2013/14. Leaders of the developed world, many of whom will be attending the summit in Turkey, spent just US$4 to 5 billion a year on adaptation finance in 2014.  Overall G20 support, including state investment and cheap loans, benefits the fossil fuel industry to the tune of US$450 billion. It is estimated that developing countries will need to spend US$150 billion a year adapting to climate change by 2030 – climate change that is exacerbated by fossil fuels.

  • The US spent US$0.4 billion a year on adaptation grants but more than 51 times this amount – US$ 20.5 billion – subsidising fossil fuel production;
  • Australia spent around US$0.07 billion a year on adaptation grants and approximately 71 times this amount – US$5 billion – on fossil fuel subsidies;
  • Germany spent US$0.84 billion a year on adaptation grants but more than three times this amount – US$2.8 billion – on fossil fuel subsidies
  • France, which is hosting the UN climate talks, spent up to US$0.07 billion a year in adaptation grants and US$0.125 billion on fossil fuel subsidies.

Oxfam’s Deputy Advocacy and Campaigns Director, Steve Price-Thomas, said: Leaders of wealthy G20 countries have no excuse for failing to deliver on their climate finance promises as they spend much bigger sums propping up the coal and oil industry. The G20 must stop subsidising polluters and instead ensure that poor communities receive the money they need to adapt to climate change.

‘Oxfam is looking to political leaders to steer the world towards an ambitious climate deal that will prevent catastrophic warming,’ said Price-Thomas.

Inclusive growth and international taxation

The G20 has made achieving inclusive growth a key theme of this year’s summit. Leaders are also expected to adopt a package of OECD reforms aimed at tackling corporate tax avoidance. These reforms are a step forward but will not stopcorporate tax dodgers cheating rich and poor countries out of billions in tax revenues every year.

Price-Thomas said: ‘The G20 say they’re for inclusive growth but are doing little to tackle the 'trickle up' economic model that mainly benefits the rich and has left hundreds of millions of people around the world hungry. Fundamental reforms are needed to ensure the benefits of economic growth are shared by all. This must include a second generation of much deeper reforms to global corporate tax rules so that all countries – rich and poor alike – can claim the corporate tax revenues owed to them.’

Refugees and migrants

Today, more people have been forced to flee their homes than at any time since the end of the Second World War – the G20 is expected to discuss measures to address this massive movement of people. Turkey is currently home to over 2 million Syrian refugees and 230,000 people from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Somalia. It is also a key staging post for hundreds of thousands of desperate people on the dangerous journey to Europe.

Price-Thomas said, ‘People who have fled conflict must be treated with dignity and compassion. G20 nations must do much more to support refugees and the countries hosting them. Leaders must agree to provide more funds to meet the needs of refugees in host countries, and welcome their fair share of refugees through resettlement and by offering other safe and legal routes to their countries. They must ensure the rights of refugees to have an education and an opportunity to work are upheld.

Notes to editors

Oxfam spokespeople from a number of G20 countries are available to give expert analysis and comment on a range of issues including: inclusive growth (inequality), international taxation, climate change, the migration crisis and gender equality.

The C20 media brief, which gives an overview of some of the critical issues being discussed in Turkey, including inclusive growth, gender equality, international taxation, corruption, climate change and the migration crisis, is available from the press team.

All figures for fossil fuel subsidies are an average for 2013/14 and are from Oil Change International’s report, ‘Empty Promises’:

Oxfam estimates that developed countries have provided between US$4.1 and US$5.5 billion a year in net public support for adaptation in 2014. This figure includes grants that are targeted at adaptation, as well as a component of grants that have adaptation co-benefits. It also includes the concessional part of loans. Source is OECD/CPI’s report here, as well as the OECD’s climate finance database (

The French government reports giving US$0.07 billion in total grants in 2014, so grants for adaptation cannot be any higher than this:

The US government reports giving US$0.4 billion in adaptation grants in 2014 – Congressionally Appropriated Grant-based Assistance:

The German government reports US$0.84 billion (€0.79 billion) in adaptation grants in 2014

The Australian Government reported providing AU$0.3billion in adaptation grants between 2010/11 and 2012/13, an average of AU$0.1 billion a year, or US$0.07 billion at current rates.

Figures on refugee numbers in Turkey from UNHCR

Oxfam is an active member of the C20 (Civil 20), the officially-recognised engagement group tasked with representing the views of national and international civil society: