Fossil fuel subsidies hit a record £10m a minute

Central Government, Energy Companies

Barry White

Fossil-fuel subsidies surged to a record $7 trillion ($7000000000000) last year as
governments supported consumers and businesses during the global spike in energy prices
caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the economic recovery from the pandemic
according to a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

This represents a massive $13m or £10.3m a minute despite fossil fuels being the primary cause of the climate crisis.

As climate change worsens, the world struggles to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees
Celsius and parts of Asia, Europe and the United States swelter in extreme heat, the report
says that subsidies for oil, coal and natural gas are costing the equivalent of 7.1 percent of
global gross domestic product. That’s more than governments spend annually on education
(4.3 percent of global income) and about two thirds of what they spend on healthcare (10.9

The findings come as the World Meteorological Organisation says July was the hottest
month on record, drawing attention to the urgent need to curb human-induced climate

The IMF estimates that scrapping explicit and implicit fossil-fuel subsidies would prevent 1.6
million premature deaths annually, raise government revenues by $4.4 trillion, and put
emissions on track toward reaching global warming targets. It would also redistribute income
as fuel subsidies benefit rich households more than poor ones.

The biggest subsidisers were China, the US, Russia and India.