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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fatih Birol, IEA chief economist: Fossil-fuel subsidies are public enemy number one

Fossil fuel subsidies “are public enemy number one” | Fossil fuel subsidies amount to little more than an incentive to pollute and as such are “public enemy number one to sustainable development” Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the International Energy Agency said at the European Wind Energy Association’s (EWEA) recent annual conference.

Birol added that subsidies for fossil fuels  which amounted to half a trillion US dollars worldwide in 2011  keep oil and gas artificially cheap and made it hard for clean alternatives, like wind, to compete.

In a blog post on EWEA’s website, it is revealed how Christian Kjaer, the association’s CEO, expressed his concern to the conference, about how Europeans are transferring a rising share of their wealth to just a handful of fossil fuel exporting countries.

“In 2009 the EU spent €274 billion on fossil fuels imports – 2.1% of its GDP, a level which increased by €200 billion or 70% over just three years to 2012,” he said. 

“Today, EU citizens are spending half a billion Euros more each day on fossil fuel imports than they were three years ago,” he told the conference.

“Fossil fuel subsidies do not make sense,” Birol asserted. Subsidies keep fossil fuels artificially cheap, and without a phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies, we will not reach our climate targets. “I hope governments pay attention this,” Birol added.

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