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Stop Paying the Polluters

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.

Stern’s sentiment was echoed by Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, who pleaded in favor of stronger climate action to prevent future generations being “roasted, toasted, fried, and grilled.” And World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced that his institution would prioritize the fight against climate change and focus on promoting, among other measures, the elimination of subsidies doled out to the fossil-fuel industry.