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G20 spends $88B per year exploring for fossil fuels

The G20 group of major global economies spend $88 billion per year on fossil-fuel exploration, according to a new study.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Oil Change International compiled the data, which shows a large chunk of the spending comes from Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Bloomberg reports.

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The two companies spent $17 billion and $11.3 billion on exploration, the study found. The rest of the $88 billion includes subsidies, tax breaks from governments, and public financing.

But the U.S. led in terms of direct state subsidies and tax breaks with $5.1 billion a year, the report states. Australia gave $2.9 billion in tax breaks, and Russia $2.4 billion.

Such expenditures are contributing to carbon emissions just as the world’s largest countries are attempting to rein in emissions, and forge a global climate accord.

Last week the United Nations warned that emissions must be cut in half by 2050 and reach a net zero at the end of the century or the globe will face “irreversible” damages.

“Not only are companies continuing to look for fossil fuels and trying to find new reserves, but governments are putting more money and support towards exploration than companies, which is basically governments fueling dangerous climate change,” Shelagh Whitley, a research fellow at the ODI, told Bloomberg News.