|Inna Amesheva, PhD candidate
2 February 2015
According to International Energy Agency (IEA) figures, in 2012 global fossil fuel subsidies amounted to $544 billion. On the other hand, the financial support provided to the renewable energy sector was under 20 percent of that, or $101 billion. The estimate of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for oil, coal and gas subsidies is much higher, putting the total nearer $2 trillion. The differences stem from the uncertain definition of what a ‘subsidy’ represents, but in any case, the figures are striking. Taking a national perspective, in the United States alone, reliable assessments of yearly fossil fuel subsidies range from $10 billion to $52 billion per annum. This number exceeds by 5-6 times the amount spent on renewable energy generation.
This substantial chunk of the government’s revenue would be much better spent financing socially beneficial projects such as building new schools, hospitals and badly-needed infrastructure. In addition, fossil fuel subsidies, if diverted to the renewable energy sector, would serve a longer-term, more sustainable purpose that would not only provide for a cleaner environment, but would also reduce dependence on ‘dirty’ fuels that exacerbate the effects of climate change.... Click here to read the full article. Ms Inna Amesheva is a PhD candidate in public international law in the Faculty of Law, supervised by Dr. James Fry. She wrote this article as part of the requirements of Farzana Aslam's LLM course, Business and Human Rights.