Just 10 Percent of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Cash ‘Could Pay For Green Transition,’ Report Says

An anonymous reader quotes a report 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 $370 billion a year in support, compared with $100 billion 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.

The new analysis shows how redirecting some of the fossil fuel subsidies could decisively tip the balance in favor of green energy, making it the cheapest electricity available and instigating a rapid global rollout. “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.” Reform of fossil fuel subsidies could have a significant impact on global heating. An earlier IISD study of 20 countries with large fossil fuel subsidies found that a 30% swap to renewables would lead to emissions reductions of between 11% and 18%. “Most experts define fossil fuel subsidies as financial or tax support for those buying fuel or the companies producing it,” the report says. “The IMF also includes the cost of the damage fossil fuel burning causes to climate and health, leading to an estimate of $5.2 trillion of fossil fuel subsidies in 2017, or $10 million 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.”

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