Fossil fuels are underpriced by a whopping $5.2 trillion

One big reason that goal is tough to hit is that we’re still heavily dependent on coal, oil, and natural gas — and governments support these forms of energy far more than clean energy.

The International Monetary Fund periodically assesses global subsidies for fossil fuels as part of its work on climate, and it found in a recent working paper that the fossil fuel industry got a whopping $5.2 trillion in subsidies in 2017. This amounts to 6.4 percent of the global gross domestic product.

Its last assessment in 2015 tabulated a value of $5.3 trillion — so not much has changed since then, despite growing alarm about rising temperatures and plummeting prices for alternatives like solar and wind energy. And it’s now clearer than ever that the political will to take on fossil fuels still hasn’t materialized.

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