Saturday 1st October 2016                 Change text size:

IMF: Fossil fuels receive $10m a minute subsidies



pollution clouds by Nevalenx via Flickr

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that in 2015, the fossil fuel industry will receive $5.3trn in subsidies, surpassing annual health spending for all the world’s governments.

Fossil fuel companies across the planet are set to receive the huge sum from public funds throughout 2015, equating to $10m per minute.

In a working paper published on Monday, the IMF described the figures as “shocking”, adding that the study is “extremely robust”. It says that the sum is owed largely to the fact that the biggest companies do not pay the cost of mitigating the effects that pollution has on societies.

The report claims that some of these impacts include flooding and extreme weather events driven by climate change and the on going health effects on people in high pollution regions.

Vitor Gaspar, head of fiscal affairs at the IMF described the estimates as “shocking”, adding that energy prices “remain woefully below the levels that reflect their true costs”.

The IMF’s David Coady who led the report said, “When the number came out at first, we thought we had better double check this!”

He said that the study was “extremely robust” and concluded that $5.3trn a year “is the true cost associated with fossil fuel subsidies.”

 

Revelations in the report are expected to put greater pressures on both industry and governments to mitigate the risks involved with using fossil fuel as a source of energy.

Possible avenues that could be pursued include investment in Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies, which have been pursued in the UK, or exploring other options such as nuclear and renewable energy sources.

The UK is currently one of the world’s leaders in renewable energy, boasting some of the world’s largest offshore wind farms.

Image: Nevalenx via Flickr

Further reading:

Study: climate change will worsen air pollution

UK government ordered to take ‘immediate action’ on air pollution

UN’s Ban Ki-moon: we must act on climate change now

Report: renewables to grow faster than fossil fuels in 2015

World’s largest offshore wind farm approved for Yorkshire

 


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