The opportunity in avoiding catastrophe

  An article in the FT by Martin Wolf made a point that I’d not heard before: avoiding climate change would bring massive benefits to the global economy (with the side benefit of averting a great deal of human catastrophe).

Even more interesting is that one obvious move is about subsidies – not subsidising renewable energy, but stopping subsidising fossil fuels.

This is Wolf’s article in The Financial Times:

This [energy] revolution will not happen without state support. It would be helped by eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels, estimated by the International Monetary Fund at $5.3tn for 2015 (6.5 per cent of global output), with the inclusion of spillover effects, such as air pollution. This is three orders of magnitude larger than state spending on research and development in renewable energy.

5.3 trillion US dollars. That’s 3.26 trillion pounds. That’s almost seven times the valuation of Apple, the most valuable company in the world. 3.5 times the amount the UK government spent on bailing out the banks, every year.

: : The article’s worth registering on the FT site to read if you don’t have a subscription. Also Why Are We Waiting, by Nicholas Stern, published earlier this year by MIT Press is cited often if you want to find out more.