FRIDAY 01 MARCH, 2013 |
Fossil Fuel Subsidies Eclipsed $620 Billion in 2011
Globally, governments provided more than USD$620 billion to subsidize fossil fuel energy in
2011 and just $88 billion went to subsidies for renewable energy.
According to the Earth Policy Institute (EPI), $131 billion in subsidies went to
coal, gas and oil consumed specifically for electricity generation.
"Through these subsidies, governments cut the prices people paid for fossil energy by nearly a
quarter - encouraging waste and hindering efforts to stabilize climate."
Demonstrating the connection between subsidisation and carbon footprint; the United Arab Emirates,
Kuwait and Qatar each spent thousands per person on propping up fossil fuel consumption in
2011 and all three countries are among the world's top carbon emitters per capita.
Although G-20 countries committed to winding down fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful
consumption, the EPI says they have made little measurable progress.
Of the $88 billion that went to subsidies for renewable energy, much of the
support went to electricity producers and was almost equally divided between among solar
PV, wind, biomass electricity and biofuels.
"Clearly, the deck is stacked against renewables," says
EPI sourced its data from the International Energy Agency's Fossil Fuel Subsidy Database
While subsidisation of renewable energy is often criticised, it's often
forgotten the fossil fuel industry has been riding the subsidy gravy train for
decades - and its not as though it needs the degree of support it enjoys. The
EPI points out Royal Dutch Shell , ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and ConocoPhillip collectively
raked in $137 billion in profits in 2012.
The International Energy Agency estimates state phasing out all fossil fuel consumption subsidies by 2020 would
slash carbon dioxide emissions in that year by close to 2 gigatons.
The Earth Policy Institute (EPI) was founded in 2001 by Lester Brown, the founder and former president of the Worldwatch Institute, to provide a plan of a sustainable future along with a roadmap of how to get from here to there.
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