Switching just some of the huge subsidies supporting fossil fuels to renewables would unleash a runaway clean energy revolution, according to a new report, significantly cutting the carbon emissions that are driving the climate crisis.
Coal, oil and gas get more than $370bn (£305bn) a year in support, compared with $100bn for renewables, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report found. Just 10-30% of the fossil fuel subsidies would pay for a global transition to clean energy, the IISD said.
Ending fossil fuel subsidies has long been seen as vital to tackling the climate emergency, with the G20 nations pledging in 2009 to phase them out, but progress has been limited. In 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 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.
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