Fossil Fuel Subsidies to Hit $660 Billion by 2020


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Fossil Fuel Subsidies Ballooned by $110 Billion Last Year
It could take all afternoon to list the myriad reasons that more fossil fuel subsidies are the last thing we need right now. So suffice to say that so as long as they remain in place, they'll continue to give dirty energy sources like coal and oil an even more massive advantage over renewables -- and they'll keep emptying taxpayer pockets to aid the most profitable companies in history. But more fossil fuel subsidies is what we're going to get, unless major reforms are undertaken.

A recent International Energy Agency report reveals that worldwide fossil fuel subsidies grew $110 billion last year, up to $409 billion. And that number will hit $660 billion by 2020 if the status quo continues as projected.Here's the Hill:

Global fossil fuel consumption subsidies rose in 2010 despite a pledge by G-20 nations to take steps to reduce them in coming years, according to a new analysis. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated Tuesday that subsidies that artificially lower fuel prices reached $409 billion in 2010, an increase of almost $110 billion above 2009 levels.

The Paris-based IEA and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a joint analysis Tuesday that follows the G-20's 2009 pledge to phase out subsidies that encourage waste, hinder energy security and impede development of renewables and climate change initiatives.

And here's the kicker -- the reason fossil fuel subsidies won't grow even faster is that developing nations like India and China are working to dismantle them. Meanwhile, Republicans in the U.S. have balked at the prospect of even reducing them slightly.

Subsidies are a nasty beast -- they're notoriously difficult to strip away, especially from bloated, uber-profitable industries like the fossil fuels sector. Read all about why we can't kill oil subsidies here.

Of course, we've got to try. So as long as fossil fuels companies are fortified with billions of dollars of government aid, solar and wind will never be able to make serious inroads -- and we'll surely continue to rely on energy sources that pollute heavily, impose deadly costs on the public and the environment, and contribute to the steadily worsening climate crisis.

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