The crazy $5.2 trillion fossil fuel subsidy

Climate change in Tuvalu. Photo: Rodney Dekker, Oxfam Australia

On May 11, sensors at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii recorded that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had risen above 415 parts per million (ppm). The safe level is 350 ppm.

This is the first time since humans have existed that there has been this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and it is well beyond the safe limit.

As 350.org (the name of this climate activist network tells you how bad things are) warns it is no longer safe for people on the climate change frontline: “Global grain yields have declined by 10% from heatwaves and floods connected to climate change, unleashing hunger and displacement. Over 1 million people living near coasts have been forced from their homes due to rising seas and stronger storms, and millions more are expected to flee in the coming years.”

It is getting dangerously hotter and if we are to have any chance of escaping a catastrophic 2ºC rise in average temperature, 80% of all remaining fossil fuel has to be kept in the ground.

Yet a new report by the International Monetary Fund reveals that global fossil fuel subsidies grew to $5.2 trillion (6.5% of combined global GDP). The report found that “annual energy subsidies in Australia total $29 billion, representing 2.3% of Australian GDP. On a per capita basis, Australian fossil fuel subsidies amount to $1198 per person.”

These numbers are a scary reminder of how out-of-control the global capitalist system has become. Systemic greed for profit is destroying life on Earth at an incredible rate. And if our global society does not free itself from capitalism the human species could even condemn itself to extinction.

Time is running out. We all have to choose which side we are on in an epic struggle for liberation and a liveable planet Earth.

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