Redirecting subsidies would unleash clean energy
If world governments moved some of the huge subsidies supporting fossil fuels to renewables, it would unleash a runaway clean energy revolution. This means cutting the carbon emissions that are driving the climate crisis, according to a new report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).
The IISD report says that coal, oil and gas corporations get more than $370bn (£305bn) a year in support, compared with $100bn for renewables. Just 10-30% of the fossil fuel subsidies would pay for the world’s transition to clean energy, according to the IISD.
Ending fossil fuel subsidies has been essential in dealing with the climate emergency, and the G20 nations pledged in 2009 to phase them out, but progress has been “slow”. This May, the UN secretary general, António Guterres, attacked subsidies, saying: “What we are doing is using taxpayers’ money – which means our money – to boost hurricanes, to spread droughts, to melt glaciers, to bleach corals. In one word: to destroy the world.”
The new analysis shows how redirecting even some of the fossil fuel subsidies could decisively tip the balance in favour of green energy, making it the cheapest electricity available and instigating a rapid global rollout. This means gasoline is cheap, but only because it is subsidised!
Fossil fuels are now subsidised by $10m a minute, says the IMF.
Renewables are so close to being competitive that a switch of 10-30% in subsidies tips the balance, and turns them from a technology that is slowly growing to one that is quickly the most viable and can replace really large amounts of generation. Renewable energy goes from being marginal to an absolute no-brainer! And our taxes are better spent!