GWEC makes G8 fossil plea

GWEC's Steve Sawyer

GWEC's Steve Sawyer

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has issued a strong appeal to world leaders to phase out fossil fuel subsidies at next week’s Group of Eight (G8) summit of world leaders in Northern Ireland.

GWEC says globally the level of subsidies given by governments to fossil fuels shot up from $400bn in 2010 to more than $523bn in 2011, and then again to reach $630bn last year.

Today, it claims, fossil fuels receive six times more subsidies than renewable energy.

Meanwhile, says GWEC, atmospheric global CO2 levels have reached a record high of 400 parts per million, seriously hindering efforts to bring human-produced emissions under control.

“While world leaders pay lip service to combating climate change, what they are actually doing is subsidising CO2 emissions to the tune of $110 per tonne. Fossil fuel energy subsidy reform could take us a long way towards protecting the climate,” says Steve Sawyer, secretary general of GWEC.

GWEC and the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) are using the jointly organised Global Wind Day on 15 June to launch online activity telling G8 leaders to stop subsidising fossil fuels and to switch to renewables instead.

The two industry bodies claim wind energy has become a mainstream technology. It is already cheaper in Australia and Brazil than conventional energy sources and directly competes with them in an expanding number of markets, including Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and parts of China and the US.

They say wind is turning into the power technology of choice as utilities, energy planners and governments seek to diversify their energy mix, reduce CO2 emissions and air pollution, protect their economies from volatile fossil fuel prices and benefit from increased investment and job creation.

It is pointed out that with the right policy support wind power could reach 1 terawatt worldwide by 2020, avoiding over 9 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

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