"John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, on Friday described fossil fuel subsidies as the “definition of insanity,” denouncing measures taken by governments that artificially lower the price of coal, oil or gas.
Speaking at the United Nations climate summit, where negotiators for nearly 200 nations are trying to seek agreement on a deal that averts the worst effects of climate change, Mr. Kerry called for rapidly phasing out the subsidies. But he defended new language in a draft of an agreement that appears to have watered down a push to curb fossil fuels.
A version released early Friday called on countries to accelerate “the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.” The addition of the words unabated and inefficient was seen by some environmental groups as a loophole that would allow subsidies to continue.
But Mr. Kerry argued that the wording “must stay” in the final agreement because commercial technology to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions could be developed in the future. He said that “knowing what the evidence is” about how sharply global emissions needed to be cut, countries cannot rule out the use of new technologies."