The world spends $423 billion a year to subsidize fossil fuels, U.N. research says
November 01, 2021: -The head of the United Nations Development Programme told CNBC that $423 billion of taxpayers’ money is spent on subsidizing fossil fuel use every year and is preventing a transition toward cleaner energy.
Speaking about the launch of its new campaign, “Don’t Choose Extinction,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said he was “distraught” that we are in a “historical moment in time” with the means to tackle climate change, but not taking the decisions necessary to be happening.
The recent UNDP campaign against fossil fuel subsidies is witnessing dinosaurs, voiced by global stars in some languages which includes Jack Black, Eiza Gonzalez, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Aïssa Maïga, addressing the United Nations in New York, which urges the world not to choose that could lead them following dinosaurs into extinction.
“There is an element of humor and adventure in there, but it is to carry a very vital message to a vast audience,” Steiner said.
“It is meant to interest young people, old people, people thinking that they have nothing to do with this, and yet they are part of that fossil fuel economy that is taking us to the brink of a point of no return in terms of climate change,” he added.
Steiner said that spending $423 billion a year on fossil fuel subsidies is insufficient for taxpayers’ money. He added that they are often justified to ensure energy is cheaper for poorer people.
“But, when you look at the statistics, the interesting reality is that it is something that benefits, really, the wealthier parts of society because they are disproportionately larger users of energy,” Steiner said.
“So, if you’re interested in helping poorer people to have access to energy, to fuel, there are much more efficient ways of doing that, and you don’t need to distort an entire economy in terms of the way we currently make fossil fuels artificially cheaper to use,” he said.
The last U.N. report found that governments were on track producing over twice the levels of fossil fuels in the year 2030 than would be needed to keep increasing the global temperatures to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Asked the way this can be turned around, Steiner told CNBC, “Well, many economists essentially permit that if you were to introduce a carbon price that reflects the true cost of using that fossil fuel in our economies today, you would very quickly create a market whereby producers but also consumers of fossil fuels, would move out of this sector.”
“And, when we look at the global energy economy, we have already begun an energy revolution. In the past couple of years alone, there is more invested in new renewable energy infrastructure, and hence invested in the construction and bringing it on stream, than in oil, gas, coal, and nuclear combined,” he added.
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