- Category: Politics
25 Jun 2012
- Published on Monday, 25 June 2012 11:27
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An executive from wind energy provider and a director of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels, coal mining and the like would give not only environmental benefits, but economic progress as well. In a blog post of the World Economic Forum, Wind power provider Vestas chief executive Ditlev Engel and O.E.C.D. environment director Simon Upton argue that several countries are spending "considerable" resources for these subsidies, which could be redirected for the faster deployment of clean energy. "If we are serious about reducing the use of fossil fuels, why would we make them artificially cheaper?" They said. "Eliminating such measures and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies more generally would help reduce fiscal imbalances, increase real incomes, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the overall cost of climate change mitigation." They mentioned the 2009 G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, where leaders committed "to rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption." They say progress had been slow since then – with subsidies still at an estimated $500 billion annually, according to data from the O.E.C.D. and the International Energy Association.
"In the context of the current crisis, countries can no longer afford this inefficient use of scarce public resources," they said. They do, however, recognize the difficulty of phasing out such subsidies, a move that would benefit upper- and middle-class families but will have with adverse effects on lower income households. "Countries should use some of the resources saved from phasing out fossil fuel subsidies to support the poor. This could be through the provision of access to energy and the funding of other public priorities such as public transport." Removing the subsidies and other "inefficient forms of support that encourage wasteful production and consumption" for better fiscal stability and faster deployment of clean energy technologies would be jumpstarted by full disclosure, they said, with the question of "who benefits from the subsidies and by how much?" With 26 other leaders from industry, finance, development banks, academia and international organizations under the collective of the "B20 Green Growth Task Force," they urge G-20 leaders to annually disclose the full measure of support for fossil fuel exploration, production and consumption, as well as support for other technologies. "[We] also urge [them] to develop national transition plans to phase out these subsidies and to annually disclose steps taken to achieve these goals," they said. Alternatively, they also suggest redirecting a portion of these fossil fuel subsidies to ensure access to energy for the poorest and other public priorities, including green infrastructure investments. – EcoSeed Staff