$3.5 TRILLION a Year Spent to Subsidize the Fossil Fuel Industry

Dave Roberts of Grist reports on the 2011 world wide numbers from the International Monetary Fund of what governments are tossing down the toilet on 19th century energy technology. Insane.

A new report [PDF] from the International Monetary Fund tries to tally up fossil fuel subsidies around the world and finds that they add up to an eye-popping $1.9 trillion a year. That’s 2.5 percent of global GDP!

That’s $1.9 trillion in direct subsidies. and another estimated $1.6 trillion in not taxing the externalities of carbon use (i.e., air pollution, pollution related health problems, global warming, duh!).

As enviro hero Paul Hawken is fond of saying, “we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP.” I can’t think of a better description of these fossil fuel subsidies. And when we use a more realistic cost for carbon damages, we get a better sense of just how much we are stealing from our descendents — trillions and trillions of dollars a year. The heedless radicalism and grotesque immorality of it are breathtaking.


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