Subsidies for Fossil Fuels Cost the World $423 Billion Per Year

Each year, $423 billion in government money is spent supporting fossil fuel use, obstructing the transition to cleaner energy. 

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner expressed his concern during the launch of the organization’s new campaign, “Don’t Choose Extinction,” saying that the world is at a historical crossroads, with all the resources to address climate change but no political will to do so. 

In the new UNDP campaign against fossil fuel subsidies, a dinosaur, voiced by international celebrities including Jack Black, Eiza Gonzalez, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Assa Maga, speaks to the United Nations in New York, urging the world not to make decisions that will lead to the extinction of dinosaurs. 

There is some humour and adventure in there, but the main goal is to deliver a very important message to a large audience. It is intended to pique the curiosity of young people, the elderly, and those who believe they have nothing to do with it but are yet a part of the fossil fuel economy that is pushing the world into a point of no return in terms of climate change. 

Spending $423 billion on fossil fuel subsidies each year is not an efficient use of taxpayer funds. They are frequently justified in order to keep energy costs down for the poor. However, when you look at the numbers, the interesting reality is that it is something that helps, in fact, the richer segments of the society since they are disproportionately larger energy users. 

In 2030, nations are on course to produce more than twice the amount of fossil fuels required to keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 

Many economists think that if a carbon price were to be introduced that reflects the true cost of using that fossil fuel in today’s economies, people would soon develop a market where producers and users of fossil fuels would both exit the sector. 

In truth, the world has already initiated an energy revolution when we look at the global energy sector. More money has been invested in new renewable energy infrastructure, and hence in its building and deployment, in the previous few years than in oil, gas, coal, and nuclear power combined. But the pace is still not enough to save the planet from the destruction human activities is doing to the world. 

The sadness is that our children or the next generation will no longer have a choice because the situation will have passed the point of no return. Because once we’ve gone past 1.5 degrees, and then 2 degrees, it’ll take 100 or 200 years to get back on track.