International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol Calls for Bonfire of Fossil Fuel Subsidies

EurActiv did an exclusive interview with the IEA’s chief economist. According to Birol, global subsidies for fossil fuels now stand at USD 409 billion, an increase of USD 110 billion since 2009, and cutting them is “the one single policy item” which could help bring emissions on trajectory to stabilise global warming below 2°C. He also urged that the door to a 2°C trajectory may be closing fast without strong global action.

The IEA expects fossil fuel subsidies to reach USD 660 billion by 2020. If they were scrapped, the IEA projects that growth in energy demand would be cut by 4.1%, oil demand would fall by 3.7 million barrels a day and CO2 emissions would be cut by 1.7 gigatonnes.

These findings are part of the IEA’s next World Energy Outlook that will be released on 9 November.

The EurActiv article also quotes research by Bloomberg New Energy Finance according to which governments around the world are spending twelve times more on fossil fuel subsidies than on those for renewable energy.

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