… And massive fossil fuel subsidies make a compelling case to speed up clean energy production
This blog has spent a lot of energy arguing against Enbridge Line 3 because of its threat to Minnesota’s clean waters, to treaty rights, and to our climate. But stopping Line 3 is only half our work. We also need to provide clean, renewable energy to fuel our economy.
So it was fun this evening to attend a rally with a positive outlook for the future. Hundreds of people rallied in the Capitol Rotunda to promote 100 percent clean energy in the state.
There were many signs in the crowd, ranging from “Break Free From Fossil Fuels” to “Climate Emergency Now!” There were chants, such as “I Believe That We Will Win!”
There were a wide range of speakers. Youth leaders spoke, such as Anna Grace Hottinger of Minnesota Can’t Wait and Asli Abdi of Willmar High School who spoke about their concerns about climate change. Community leaders spoke, such as Bunny Engeldorf of the Minnesota Nurses Association who talked about the health impacts of climate change.
Jim Wiebe a member of the Communications Workers of America Local 7304 in St. Cloud, said he and his coworkers build buses at the New Flyer Bus Company, “and our thing now is to build electric buses.”
“We are here today because Minnesota needs clean energy to fight climate change,” he said. “I’m worried what’s going to be left for my kids and my grand kids.”
Chris Conry, director of the 100% Campaign, pointed out the Capitol’s historic architecture, adding it’s still a changing building. “The state of Minnesota — we are not done creating it,” he said. “The United States of America is still a work in progress. We are gong to create it.”
Conry said he didn’t know what the outcome of the 2019 legislative session would be, “but what I do know is that we’re not finished. … Until we have climate solutions, we are not done. Until we have racial, gender, and economic equity, we are not finished.”
For more, here’s a rally video.
Fossil Fuel Subsidies are Massive, IMF Reports
The renewable energy market is growing, and if we actually paid the true costs of fossil fuels, renewable clean energy production would soar.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a working paper this month that reveals the staggering subsidies that prop up the world’s fossil fuel industry. It estimated the fossil fuel industry received a $4.7 trillion subsidy worldwide in 2015, or more than 6 percent of global Gross Domestic Product.
(To give it some perspective, the 2015 U.S. fossil fuel subsidies “exceeded the country’s profligate military spending,” according to a summary of the IMF report published in The Energy Mix.)
The IMF report looks at the “efficient pricing” of fossil fuels, factoring in the costs of such things as air pollution and climate change. These are costs not born by the fossil fuel producers or purchasers. It amounts to a subsidy because the cost of a gallon of gas or a ton of coal doesn’t include all the public costs it is creating.
The report concludes that if efficient pricing of fossil fuels were in place — pricing that takes into account all these extra costs — global carbon emissions would have been 28 percent lower in 2015 and fossil fuel air pollution deaths would have dropped by 46 percent. Government GDP would have increased by 3.8 percent.
If the marketplace is to work, the fossil fuel industry needs to cover the true costs it is creating.