Fossil fuel subsidies – May 2019 report

The IMF paper on “Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies” finds that the world is wasting 6.5% of global GDP — US$5.2 trillion per year — subsidising dirty energy through direct subsidies, tax breaks, or non-internalisation of externalities. Coal remains the largest recipient of these explicit or implicit subsidies, despite being the most polluting. The second paper, on “Fiscal Policies for Paris Climate Strategies”  provides guidance on using fiscal policies to achieve countries’ climate commitments. It emphasises the central importance of carbon pricing and reducing fossil fuel subsidies, as part of a broader policy package along with other measures. Read more about how the IMF is exploring ways in which it can help address the climate crisis in a blog authored by Helen Mountford (NCE).

Fuel subsidies defy green trend amid rising climate alarm AFP reports that despite warnings of “climate catastrophe” and calls for transitions to green economies, “the world is still spending hundreds of billions of dollars every year to subsidise the fossil fuels that are causing the planet to overheat”. It cites the findings of an International Energy Agency report from last week, which was covered by Carbon Brief, showing that 2018 saw an increase in money going into new upstream oil and gas projects. Carbon Brief has previously published a piece looking at the challenge of defining fossil fuel subsidies.

The Guardian announced on Friday its updated style guide, in which “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown” are preferred over “climate change” and “global heating” instead of “global warming”. Among other changes to environmental vocabulary put forward by the paper is the term “climate science denier” rather than “climate sceptic”. It notes that these decisions take into account the language being used by scientists and key figures such as UN secretary general, António Guterres. The Guardian’s editor-in-chief Katharine Viner is quoted saying the plan is to “ensure that we are being scientifically precise, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue”. Elsewhere, Al Jazeera asks if the media narrative around climate change is shifting, citing recent examples such as Extinction Rebellion and the green new deal. “The climate change story is also being told on platforms in ways it hasn’t been told before,” it says, noting recent high profile documentaries by the BBC and Netflix.