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In 2022, fossil fuels raked in subsidies to the staggering tune of $13m a minute, as reported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This amount tallied up to an astounding $7tn for the year – that’s equivalent to 7% of the global GDP. Just to put things into perspective, this is nearly twice the amount the world invests in education.
What’s alarming is that while the globe grapples with the challenges of climate change, with devastating heatwaves, wildfires, and floods becoming more commonplace, governments are still heavily subsidizing fossil fuels. These subsidies, as the IMF highlights, aren’t just about cheaper fuel prices. A whopping 80% of them account for the environmental and health damages caused by fossil fuel consumption, including Climate change and air pollution.
The IMF makes a compelling argument: eliminating these subsidies should be the cornerstone of our climate action plan. Not only would this decision help in limiting global warming to under 2°C, but it would also save 1.6 million lives lost to air Pollution annually. Additionally, it would enhance government revenues by trillions. However, political will and global coordination are essential for this change.
Despite pledges from major nations, such as the G20 countries who are responsible for 80% of the world’s carbon emissions, action has been slow. As of 2022, the G20 nations alone poured a record $1.4tn into fossil fuel subsidies.
While there’s been some positive movement, with countries like Canada and Nigeria announcing plans to reduce subsidies, the road ahead remains challenging. It’s crucial to remember, however, that the cost of inaction will undoubtedly surpass any temporary economic benefits these subsidies provide. The IMF analysis concludes that by eradicating these subsidies, global emissions could be reduced by 34% by 2030 compared to 2019. That’s a significant step toward the goal of keeping global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5°C.
In a world that’s feeling the impact of climate change daily, it’s time to reconsider our priorities. The IMF’s report offers a clarion call for nations to take bolder steps, phase out fossil fuel Support, and invest in a sustainable future for all.
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