Subsidising Our Downfall

Mike Hosey
5 min readFeb 10, 2021

There is no doubt that are climate is changing. Global temperatures are rising, sea ice and glaciers are shrinking, oceans are getting hotter and the sea levels are beginning to rise faster and faster. Without urgent change the impacts of the climate emergency will only get worse and leave more of the planet uninhabitable.

Countries have committed to taking action. After Biden re-signed the Paris Agreement, almost every country on the planet has committed to taking action on the climate emergency and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to levels much more sustainable levels. However, committing to acting and doing so are two very different things. Many of the commitments made in the Paris Agreement won’t achieve limiting temperature rise to 2℃, let alone the 1.5℃ goal.

Now, don’t get me wrong, moving away from fossil fuels that helped create the industrial revolution and have shaped the world we live in today isn’t going to be a quick and easy fix. It would be great is if it was, but given how we as a global society, have become so reliant on it, we can’t just click our fingers and transform the way we all live to be cleaner and more sustainable. There is still plenty we can do though, including following the money.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies

The subsidising of fossil fuel projects is a problem all over the world. Back in 2016, G7 countries were spending $100billion annually in taxpayer money on support for the production and consumption of fossil fuels. Even in the years following the signing of the Paris Agreement very little has been done by many of the richest countries to reduce the amount of money spent on subsidising the fossil fuel industry, with France and Canada spending more than before Paris.

China, a country still extremely reliant on coal for its electricity generation is spending billions of US$ each year on coal, both domestically and abroad. An estimated $9.3billion is spent abroad on coal power plants and $7.6billion within China through state-owned enterprises. The huge number of coal power stations on the east coast of the country are a huge cause of the deadly air pollution that often shrouds many of its major cities.The production and exporting of fossil fuels is a huge sector in the Russian economy, so it’s no surprise to know that they are spending almost as much as the G7 on fossil fuel subsidies — the average in recent years was just over $80billion.

Mike Hosey

| Founder of | Masters in Sustainable Development | Interested in all things sustainable |