Report: Fossil fuels are underpriced by a whopping $5.2 trillion

This Vox article discusses how fossil fuels are underpriced by a whopping $5.2 trillion. We can’t take on climate change without properly pricing coal, oil, and natural gas. But it’s a huge political challenge.

The world’s top climate scientists calculated in a startling report last year that if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius this century to avoid devastating social and economic consequences, we need to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

One big reason that goal is tough to hit is that we’re still heavily dependent on coal, oil, and natural gas — and governments support these forms of energy far more than clean energy.

The International Monetary Fund periodically assesses global subsidies for fossil fuels as part of its work on climate, and it found in a recent working paper that the fossil fuel industry got a whopping $5.2 trillion in subsidies in 2017. This amounts to 6.4 percent of the global gross domestic product.

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