Stop Paying the Polluters

Fossil-fuel subsidies rose by almost 30%, to $681 billion, in 2011, while global investment in renewable energy totaled only $257 billion. In other words, we are doing exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.

BRUSSELS – “When the winds of change blow,” says an old Chinese proverb, “some build walls, and others build wind mills.”

These same words closed the meeting in March of the Climate Parliament, a forum in Brussels that brought together legislators from around the world who are committed to the fight against climate change. Parliamentarians, United Nations representatives, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) alike agreed that ending dependency on fossil fuels is one of the most urgent steps needed to combat it effectively.

The voices from the Climate Parliament join a growing crescendo of influential actors who are speaking out about the need to clean up our energy habits. During January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Lord Nicholas Stern, author of a well-known report outlining the measures that the world should take to avoid runaway climate change, admitted that the planet is on track to warm by four degrees Celsius this century. Looking back, Stern said, his report could have been more insistent about the need to take determined action to avoid the catastrophic risks that this level of warming implies.

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