My God, the lying bastards…..

Did you know that renewables only get a piffling $50 billion a year in subsidies while those bastards over in hte fossil fuel industry get ten times as much?

The report concludes that in 2009 governments provided subsidies worth between $43bn (£27bn) and $46bn to renewable energy and biofuel industries, including support provided through feed-in tariffs, renewable energy credits, tax credits, cash grants and other direct subsidies.

In contrast, estimates from the International Energy Agency (IEA) released in June showed that $557bn was spent by governments during 2008 to subsidise the fossil fuel industry.

Now no, that\’s not the lie. That\’s the true part.

And yes, of course those subsidies to fossil fuels should be done away with. And yes it would have a wonderful effect on CO2 emissions. But that\’s not the reason to do it of course. And it\’s also not where the lie is.

The lie is here:

However, the report will further increase pressure on G20 countries to make good on their recent pledge to phase out fossil fuel subsidies – a move that the IEA believes could single-handedly slash global carbon emissions by up to seven per cent.

No, the IEA says no such damn fool thing.

Because what the lying bastards have done is equated two very different indeed sets of subsidies.

The renewables subsidies are largely the US, Germany and a bit from China (the UK\’s aren\’t really up and running in volume as yet but they will be soon).

When looking at the way they\’ve reported the figures we are expected to conclude that it\’s these same governments which are providing the fossil fuel subsidies that the IEA is complaining about, yes? But not, that\’s not what is happening at all:

Iran was identified as having the highest subsidies at about $101bn, or approximately a third of the country\’s annual budget. \”Chronic under-pricing of domestic energy in Iran has resulted in enormous subsidies and a major burden on the economy that is forcing reliance on imports of refined products,\” the study concluded. \”Steep economic, political and social hurdles will need to be overcome if Iran is to realise lasting reform.\”

I can\’t find the full IEA report but I have found the slides used to illustrate it. Here.

Last page. Who are the subsidisers? In order, Iran,  Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, China, Egypt, Venezuela, Mexico, Indonesia, Argentina, Iraq, Uzbekistan, UAE and so on….

Absolutely none of the advanced industrialised countries are providing sufficient subsidy to even make the list. Only 8 of the G-20 do ….and none of the rich ones.

So, you see what they\’ve done? They\’ve compared what poor countries do to subsidise fossil fuels with what rich countries do to subsidise renewables….and yet left us with the impression that it\’s all rich countries doing both.

Think for a moment: they\’re comparing $50 billion with $550 billion, as if it is therefore obvious that we (the US, UK etc) should therefore both reduce fossil sibsidies and increase renewables. But what on earth does Iran subsidising petrol have to do with how much the UK or Germany should subsidise solar PV?

Quite, nothing.

Now I\’m all in favour of those fossil subsidies being entirely done away with but not for climate change reasons. Rather, WTF is a poor place like Iran doing giving $100 billion to car drivers?

Or, if you prefer, sure, get rid of those subsidies but don\’t think that they\’ve got anything at all to do with us here in the rich world at all.

7 thoughts on “My God, the lying bastards…..”

  1. We do not have a global Government so their specious comparison is doubly so. What a Government chooses to subsidise is for that Government and their people.

    A question regarding Iran: Are they saying the subsidy is so huge it has put Iranian companies off investing in refineries?

    Tim adds: Last I saw Iran imported 40% of its petrol. So yes…..exports crude, imports petrol.

  2. They’ve also ignored the massive taxation on fossil fuels that should offset the subsidies calculated.

  3. Actually the interesting thing is that countries like India, with very little native oil, subsidise fuels. What seems to be going on is public choice theory – a small, easily-organisable group can arrange matters so as to get a policy passed that creates big benefits per individual for them, and low costs per individual for the rest of the population, even if overall the project costs more than the benefits.

    As the number of car drivers has been rising in India, the subsidy has gotten more and more expensive per non-car driver, so the Indian government is now trying to get rid of it.

  4. Hmm, aren’t most of those subsidising their domestic markets oil exporters?

    So they’re basically selling at below international market value within their domestic markets (ie, where the oil is from)?

    Slightly different form of subsidy than a direct cash price reduction, although the effect is the same. Domestic political reasons no doubt, keep the masses happy with cheap oil &c.

  5. According to an Economist survey of Iran – in about 2007 I think – the irony of the fuel subsidy is that it 80% for impoted product. Iran has never built sufficient refining capacity to process their own oil.

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  7. I was VERY surprized to read that Mexico is among the more renewables-subsidized countries, ’cause the government is against it and you cannot find the word subsidy or financial support in the rtecently approved RE Law.
    Can you please consult your source and ask for a valid prove to his/her saying?

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