ghosh48_BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIAFP via Getty Images_coal Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Hidden Carbon Subsidies Will Destroy Us

Western governments have been heavily subsidizing their own fossil-fuel industries even as they exhort much poorer countries to do more to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. But the full extent of these subsidies has been hidden by the methods used to measure them.

NEW DELHI – The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should terrify policymakers and ordinary people around the world. The IPCC warns that some disastrous climate outcomes are now likely to occur not in the distant future, but within the next 15 years, or even the next decade.

But instead of waking up to the threat and responding quickly, policymakers remain focused on Russia’s horrific war against Ukraine and its immediate consequences. While this may be understandable, the Ukraine crisis has also exposed the excessively short-term policy orientation of Western governments. Many have quickly reneged on even the relatively meager and obviously inadequate climate pledges they made only a few months ago at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

The invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent Western-led sanctions against Russia triggered a dramatic increase in fuel prices, when the energy market was already heating up because of the economic recovery in the United States and Europe. Yet, instead of seeing this price spike as an opportunity to hasten the shift away from fossil fuels, governments in advanced economies have tried to reduce the pain by keeping domestic energy prices low, for short-term political reasons.

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