Global public subsidies for fossil fuels almost doubled to $700bn in 2021, analysis has shown, representing a “roadblock” to tackling the climate crisis.
Despite the huge profits of fossil fuel companies, the subsidies soared as governments sought to shield citizens from surging energy prices as the global economy rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most of the subsidies were used to reduce the price paid by consumers. This largely benefits wealthier households, as they use the most energy, rather than targeting those on low incomes. The subsidies are expected to rise even further in 2022 as Russia’s war in Ukraine has driven energy prices even higher.
“Fossil fuel subsidies are a roadblock to a more sustainable future, but the difficulty that governments face in removing them is underscored at times of high and volatile fuel prices,” said Fatih Birol, the director of the International Energy Agency, which produced the analysis with the OECD.
“A surge in investment in clean energy technologies and infrastructure is the only lasting solution to today’s global energy crisis and the best way to reduce the exposure of consumers to high fuel costs,” said Birol.
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Photo: The Guardian