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Energy subsidies ‘aggravate global warming’: IMF

March 29, 2013

Energy subsidies ‘aggravate global warming’: IMF

The International Monetary Fund has urged nations to slash their $US 1.9 trillion in annual energy subsidies because they increase inequality, boost greenhouse gas emissions and limit investment in the renewable energy industry.

While many nations use energy subsidies to shield consumers from rising prices, benefits tend to be grabbed by higher-income households. The outlays also sap funds available for bigger improvements t assist the well-being of the poor, such as health and education spending.

The removal of fossil fuel subsidies would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 4.5 billion tonnes and sulphur dioxide pollution would also drop by 13 million tonnes if the subsidies are removed. The fund listed the top three energy subsidizers as the United States ($US502 billion), China ($US279 billion), and Russia ($US116 billion). Petroleum and electricity subsidies accounted for three-quarters of the pre-tax subsidies, with natural gas accounting for the most of the rest, and coal subsidies worth about $6 billion, the IMF said. The survey did not include subsidies received by renewable energy producers.

Read more at Business Day.

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