Group calls for end to $490 billion a year fossil fuel subsidies

PARIS (Reuters) - A coalition of about 40 countries, international organisations and hundreds of businesses have called on world leaders attending a climate summit in Paris to speed efforts to remove costly subsidies on fossil fuels. The group which included the United States, Norway, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, Ghana and Mexico, said in a joint statement that the subsidies, estimated by the International Energy Agency to cost about $490 billion (£325 billion) in 2014, "encourage wasteful consumption, disadvantage renewable energy, and depress investment in energy efficiency." "To combat climate change, we need climate finance (for developing countries). Fossil fuel subsidies are the opposite. It is negative climate finance. One of our objectives is to mobilise $100 billion a year by 2020. The amount of fossil fuel subsidies is about 5 times the value of those $100 billion," Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference. (Reporting by Bate Felix)