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Are Global Governments Actually Still More Committed to Fossil Fuels?

29 Aug 14:00 by Steve Walia

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Support for renewables via subsidy schemes has remained a charged subject in the discussion about how to tackle climate change. New analysis released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that there are still sizeable financial transfers from public coffers through to developers that continue to support the consumption of damaging fossil fuels. In fact, the IEA has shown that, on a global scale, fossil fuels are still being subsidised to the tune of around $490 billion in 2014. The total amount will be less for the subsequent years, but primarily due to reductions in the market price of coal, gas and oil rather than changes to government energy policies.

The body has argued that these drops in the cost of fossil fuels should mean that governments can increasingly move towards a removal of taxpayer support at the current level, or subsidy reforms which start to lessen financial support for damaging fossil fuels.

In contrast, subsidy schemes to help develop and deploy clean and green renewable energy technologies stood at $112 billion in 2014, with an extra $23 billion being spent on biofuel support.

So although much of the developed world is looking to increase public financial support for the growth of green energy, this total funding is still eclipsed by the total subsidy sum being given out to dirty fuel producers by a significant margin.

One of the countries leading the stakes in taxpayer funding for fossil fuels - and renewables alike - is China. But most other countries can be divided into those that are clearly favouring renewables development and those that are happy to remain with carbon-emitting energy forms. The figures make for fascinating and sobering reading for policy-makers, lobbyists and interested consumers everywhere.