In the global energy market, renewables get about U$100 billion per year in subsidies. Fossil fuels get U$370 billion per year. Subsidies are defined as direct financial or more indirect tax support for purchasers or producers. It has been estimated that diverting from 10 – 30% of the fossil fuel subsidies to renewables would pay for a rapid transition to clean(er) energy.
From the Guardian:
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.
To quote Richard Bridle of the International Institute for Sustainable Development:
“Almost everywhere, renewables are so close to being competitive that [a 10-30% subsidy swap] tips the balance, and turns them from a technology that is slowly growing to one that is instantly the most viable and can replace really large amounts of generation,” said Richard Bridle of the IISD. “It goes from being marginal to an absolute no-brainer.”
It will help us reach our climate protection goals and reduce pollution.
“Taking away subsidies from fossil fuels and channelling them towards clean energy would boost their development at a much faster pace, and help secure our climate goals,” said Ipek Gençsü of the Overseas Development Institute. An added bonus is the social and economic benefits, such as reduced air pollution and health spending, she said.
The cost goes up if we include indirect subsidies. Yes, that’s U$5.2 trillion.
The IMF also includes the cost of the damage fossil fuel burning causes to climate and health, leading to an estimate of $5.2tn of fossil fuel subsidies in 2017, or $10m a minute. Ending the subsidies would cut global emissions by about a quarter, the IMF estimates, and halve the number of early deaths from fossil fuel air pollution.
You can find the full article at the Guardian’s website. They might ask you for a donation, but they’ll let you look whether you choose to make one or not.