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Ending Global Fuel Subsidies Would Cut Air Pollution Deaths says IMF

May 19, 2015
Environmental Protection

money burningThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that cutting the £3.4 trillion that fossil fuel companies receive every year in subsidies would halve the number of premature deaths from air pollution.

One of the world’s most respected financial institutions, the IMF has estimated that the amount spent on fossil fuel subsidies is more than the total health spend across the globe. It claims that the figures are so large because energy companies are not forced to meet the costs of poor air quality and extreme weather driven by climate change.

Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the 2006 review of Economics and Climate Change, told The Guardian, “This very important analysis shatters the myth that fossil fuels are cheap by showing just how huge their real costs are. There is no justification for these enormous subsidies for fossil fuels, which distort markets and damages economies, particularly in poorer countries.”

The figure of £3.4 trillion represents 6.5% of global GDP and is much higher than the previous estimate in 2013. The increase is thought to be due to new data from the World Health Organisation that shows the impact of poor air quality is much greater than originally thought.

It is now estimated that removing subsidies would save up to 1.6 million lives every year.

Any change would increase global energy prices, but figures from the World Bank show that under the current system the wealthiest 20% of the population use six times as much energy as the poorest 20% in low and middle income countries.

You can read the full IMF report HERE