“We have a vast number of possibilities - With tens of billions some states subsidize fossil fuels like oil. This was dubbed “an absurdity of our economic system” by Achim Steiner, Head of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) during his Climate Lecture at Technische Universität Berlin.
A great chance for global climate protection
To stop these subsidies of more than 500 billions US$ a year could be a great chance for global climate protection; just one of many. “We have a vast number of possibilities – if we succeed to mobilize decision-makers in economy and politics,” Steiner told more than a thousand listeners. The world should listen more closely to science. It consolidates its findings more and more. Despite remaining questions and uncertainties, climate protection is simply “reasonable risk management”. Eliminating subsidies harmful to the climate: “We have a vast number of possibilities" Subsidies conferred for products from mineral oil especially in developing countries support environmental damages and slow down investments in climate-friendly technologies, Steiner said. He is one of the minds behind “Rio+20”, the sustainability conference of the international community of states 20 years after its legendary predecessor in Brazil.
A 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
That is where the subsidies belong, he said. To cancel them would lead to a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that are necessary to reach the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees. At this, Steiner referred to the official figures of the International Energy Agency. The money spent on subsidies in less developed economies could be more reasonably used for the struggle against poverty, he said. A discourse beyond talk shows Steiner was characterised by Ottmar Edenhofer as “a mastermind of sustainability”. Go to Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research