Common Sense Canadian

IMF study: Fossil fuel industry gets $5.3 TRILLION in public subsidies a year

PostedMay 19, 2015 by in International
A tar sands operation in Fort McMurray, Alberta (photo: Chris Krüg)

A tar sands operation in Fort McMurray, Alberta (photo: Chris Krüg)

Read this shocking May 19 story from the EU Observer on a new study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which pegs subsidies to the fossil fuel sector at a whopping $5.3 Trillion USD per year.

Around 1.6 million premature deaths would be prevented annually if the world’s governments stopped subsidising fossil fuels, a study by four researchers from the International Monetary Fund found.

The most relative gains could be made in eastern Europe and Turkey, where 60 percent of the people who die as a result of air pollution are estimated could be saved.

The IMF study, published Monday (18 May), calculated the “true costs” of the widespread practice of giving tax benefits and other subsidies to companies in the fossil fuel industry (coal, oil, gas). It was a “shocking” figure, the authors themselves said: $5.3 trillion, or about €4.7 trillion.

The figure is higher than what governments worldwide spend on public health.

In their calculation, the researchers included “its supply costs and the damage that energy consumption inflicts on people and the environment”.

They argue that most of the costs of health and environmental problems that fossil fuels cause are not paid by the industry but by governments and its taxpayers.

The burning of fossil fuels contributes to air pollution, which in turn is estimated to cause around 400,000 people in the EU to die prematurely each year. The EU commission has put the annual economic costs of the health impacts of air pollution at between €330 and €940 billion for the EU.

According to the IMF researchers, governments in the EU account for $330 billion of fossil fuel subsidies – about €292 billion.

While renewable energy sources like wind power and solar are sometimes said to be only economically feasible when subsidised, the study argues that fossil fuel subsidies “discourage needed investments in energy efficiency, renewables, and energy infrastructure, and increase the vulnerability of countries to volatile international energy prices”.


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Common Sense Canadian



    Meanwhile, our healthcare and education services are seriously lacking in funding…

    Alain Milette

    The IMF and BIS dictate monetary policy to Canada. They took control in 1974 when our Public bank the Bank Of Canada made our money and loaned it to the government for 0% interest. Now we borrow from private banks at interest and our debt has ballooned from 18 billion in 1974 to 1.2 billion today. Canada lost it’s sovereignty and we are now debt slaves. So to me they as well as big oil are subsidized……Canadian tax payers give them about 50 billion a year in interest payments.

    gopal chintan

    So WTO, World Bank, EU, ADB and IMF itself push poor countries for no subsidies even in health, education and basic needs sector? Ridiculously double standard!

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