Monday, June 18, 2012

What is the #endfossilfuelsubsidies Twitterstorm about?

Everyone knows there was a Twitterstorm today around the #endfossilfuelsubsidies.

A few background facts.

Fossil fuel subsidies in 2011 came to about $775billion. Most was for consumer subsidy in LDCs, but $100 billion went from the taxpayer straight into the pockets of oil companies.

Most go to oil and gas, though coal gets a million here and a million there.

The figure does not include the cost of externalities (health impacts &c) which amount to $120billion in the USA alone.

Fossil fuel subsidies are about 5-12 times greater than those given to the developing clean energy industry, the subsidies which the right wing press make such a song and dance about. It is reasonable to subsidise infant technologies. It is unreasonable to subsidise a hugely profitable, century old industry.

Finally, eliminating these subsidies will get us halfway towards meeting our CO2 reduction targets.

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