This The Atlantic article discusses a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on the hidden subsidy of fossil fuels. A new report says that the world subsidized fossil fuels by $5.2 trillion in just one year. But that calculation is less tidy than it seems. Governments around the world spend an enormous amount of money every year making it cheaper for fossil-fuel companies to exhaust the planet. But they’re not spending nearly as much as a recent report may make it seem.
The International Monetary Fund recently updated its comprehensive report on global fossil-fuel subsidies. It arrives at a staggering conclusion: In 2017, the world subsidized fossil fuels by $5.2 trillion, equal to roughly 6.5 percent of global GDP. That’s up half a trillion dollars from 2015, when global subsidies stood at $4.7 trillion, according to the IMF. If governments had only accounted for these subsidies and priced fossil fuels at their “fully efficient levels” in 2015, then worldwide carbon emissions would have been 28 percent lower, and deaths due to toxic air pollution 46 percent lower.
A second article, by Rolling Stone, also discusses the same topic, but make a really strong point – U.S. fossil fuel subsidies exceed Pentagon spending. The IMF found that direct and indirect subsidies for coal, oil and gas in the U.S. reached $649 billion in 2015. Pentagon spending that same year was $599 billion.