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Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy 385

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the we're-doomed dept.
An anonymous reader writes A research team at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria, says it has studied how much it would cost for governments to stick to their worldwide global warming goal. They've concluded that for "a 70 per cent chance of keeping below 2 degrees Celsius, the investment will have to rise to $1.2 trillion a year." Where to get that money? The researchers say that "global investment in energy is already $1 trillion a year and rising" with more than half going to fossil fuel energy. If those subsidies were spent on renewable energy instead, the researchers hypothesize that "global warming would be close to being solved."
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Study: Global Warming Solvable If Fossil Fuel Subsidies Given To Clean Energy

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  • by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:44AM (#47392461)

    That if you REALLY want to eliminate fossil fuel usage, the big spending is going to have to be on dams and nuclear reactors.

    • by Ichijo (607641)
      But increasing supply of an alternative is only one way to decrease demand for something. So heavy investment in hydro and nuclear isn't required to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
    • Whom ever modded you as insightful probably have good intentions, but are idiots. Nuclear Reactors generate Nuclear Waste.
      • by ganjadude (952775)
        if only we had a depository for such things, perhaps in a mountain somewhere way underground where it wont cause any problems.....
        • Your definition of No Problem and my definition of No Problem are very different. We've had the Handord nuclear site out here for while and it has been a huge headache. A very EXPENSIVE headache.
      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        Nuclear Reactors generate Nuclear Waste.

        Solar Power demands Big Batteries, which are inevitably Highly Toxic Waste.

        Stop living in one-sided fantasy land.

        • by Imrik (148191)

          Don't forget coal, producing more radiation than a nuclear reactor.

          • Define 'produce radiation' please!
            Both, nuclear power and coal plants, don't emit any meaningful radiation ... unless there is an accident, as we know.
            Ah, you mean the ash of coal plants is radioactive?
            Well, in first world countries no one is harmed by it ...

        • First of all: solar power does not demand batteries.
          Second: battery production does not produce huge amounts of toxid waste, actually it produces none at all.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@NOspaM.world3.net> on Sunday July 06, 2014 @09:44AM (#47392727) Homepage

      It would be more like what is happening in Germany. Massive investment in wind, solar, wave and geothermal, but crucially also a massive investment in a new smarter grid to support it all.

      I have no doubt that it will happen in Europe, but the US is going to find it hard. Things like subsidising residential solar are seen as un-American and socialist, even though it's fine to heavily subsidise companies building fossil fuel or nuclear plants. The grid is a money-making privately owned infrastructure, not something that is supposed to work for the public's benefit. In other words, the problems are all cultural.

      • Residential solar is already subsidized via a tax credit. So are hybrids and electric cars.

        Are you referring specifically to the business subsidies?

      • It would be more like what is happening in Germany. Massive investment in wind, solar, wave and geothermal, but crucially also a massive investment in a new smarter grid to support it all.

        I have no doubt that it will happen in Europe, but the US is going to find it hard. Things like subsidising residential solar are seen as un-American and socialist, even though it's fine to heavily subsidise companies building fossil fuel or nuclear plants. The grid is a money-making privately owned infrastructure, not something that is supposed to work for the public's benefit. In other words, the problems are all cultural.

        Yeah man, I concur.

    • Hydroelectric is good, in the places where it makes sense such as Niagara Falls.

      To provide for all of US energy needs would require 20,000 dams, each with the capacity of Hoover dam. Because Hoover was located in one of the best places possible, it flooded only 100 square miles. We' e already dammed most of the best spots, so new dams would be in less ideal places.

      The 20,000 dams required would flood 80% of the continental US, so that's probably not a solution. There may be a few places remaining to add a

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      That if you REALLY want to eliminate fossil fuel usage, the big spending is going to have to be on dams and nuclear reactors.

      Hydro power won't do. The world technical potential for hydro power is about 16 PWh, while the world demand for energy is something like 500 PWh, so there is no way that those 16 PWh could ever make a significant contribution.

      Nuclear power's technical potential is only limited by the effectiveness of the technology, so nuclear could be a viable replacement given the right advances in nuclear technology. It is unfortunately possible to rule out current nuclear technology because it simply takes too long and

  • by fche (36607) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:46AM (#47392469)

    TFA is loonie. According to its own data, the "fossil fuel subsidies" it is hoping to redirect are those that third-world OPEC type countries currently give to their own populations in the form of supercheap oil. Withholding that money would be regime suicide (plus possibly population genocide).

    • by maeka (518272)

      This.

      The subsidies for fossil fuels by first-world western nations (and China) (those in a position to fund green energy technologies) are a small percentage of the total. Most fossil fuel subsidies are done by oil producing nations as a form of population pacification. The idea that these funds are available for redirection is ludicrous.

      • by russotto (537200)

        The subsidies for fossil fuels by first-world western nations (and China) (those in a position to fund green energy technologies) are a small percentage of the total. Most fossil fuel subsidies are done by oil producing nations as a form of population pacification. The idea that these funds are available for redirection is ludicrous.

        Sure, but that's only half the problem. The other half is the idea that throwing money at renewables will actually reduce CO2 production.

        • by Uecker (1842596)

          The subsidies for fossil fuels by first-world western nations (and China) (those in a position to fund green energy technologies) are a small percentage of the total. Most fossil fuel subsidies are done by oil producing nations as a form of population pacification. The idea that these funds are available for redirection is ludicrous.

          Sure, but that's only half the problem. The other half is the idea that throwing money at renewables will actually reduce CO2 production.

          Huh, what makes you think it does not?

    • Withholding that money would be regime suicide (plus possibly population genocide).

      If first world countries were to redirect the massive amounts of money spent to invade and conqueror those third world, oil producing countries over to renewable research and development, the end result would comparable: enough funding to end the need to invade and conqueor said oil producing countries.

  • by mdsolar (1045926) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @08:49AM (#47392487) Homepage Journal
    Energy is a lot like roads an bridges in the way it promotes prosperity by its very existence. One can imagine a world where energy does not need military protection or special tax treatment, but it would be a world where national rivalries in power and economics are much subdues compared to the present. We're not there yet, but a rapid transition to renewable energy could probably get us closer more than just about any other move. Let's make the switch.
  • Maybe it could theoretically work (or maybe not), but it's irrelevant because almost impossible to do.

    The problem is: how do you take away money (subsidies) from those who have a lot of it (partly precisely from subsidies)?

    They can spend a lot for lobbying and public relations in general. The industries which would need to receive these subsidies don't have comparable means for their campaigns, and in part these industries don't even exist yet, because the money is lacking to develop them.

    In social movement

  • Well we have known this for a long long time. Problem is how do we get the government to stop subsidizing fossil fuel?
    Voting against the tea party nutcases might be a good start. They are they ones forcing these subsidies: http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/29/... [cnn.com]

    Land Area that is needed to power the whole world with solar panels using existing technology: http://www.gembapantarei.com/s... [gembapantarei.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by felrom (2923513)

      Today on /. we find out who doesn't know the difference between subsidies, tax deductions, tax breaks, and taxes.

      From the linked CNN article above:

      Among other things, the measure killed on Thursday would have ended oil production's categorization under the tax code as a form of domestic manufacturing eligible for a deduction worth 6% of net income, according to New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, the bill's author.

      The measure also would have prevented oil companies from claiming foreign royalty payments as a credit against American taxes, and cut the ability of companies to deduct numerous costs associated with the drilling process.

      So we have a bunch of tax deductions that literally every company in the country is eligible for, but when the oil industry takes them they become subsidies and are bad.

      Wow.....

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        of course, lets face it, think of how stupid the avg american is, and remember 1/2 are stupider than that.

        Most things that are talked about by politicians when it comes to subsidies are not only bending of the truth but straight up lies. For example the lie that the oil companies pay no taxes. it is a bullshit lie that many love to believe and keep perpetrating the myth for example EXXON payed a REAL tax number of 9.5 BILLION Dollars in total taxes in 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

        people LOVE
  • Well ... people have a "green" conscious but a non-green wallet. Bumping up the cost of fuel will mean reduction in their standard of living. That may not go down well.
  • I'm absolutely sure that you can reduce emissions that way. But at what cost?

    Power plants are not being built for fun, they actually serve a purpose, namely that of generating electricity in places that need electricity. In the world today, that happens mainly in places where electricity is scarce and absolutely needed to get out of poverty. It so happens to be the case that fossil power plants are much less expensive on a per-kWh basis and far more reliable than wind and solar. Hydro is a serious competito

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I'm absolutely sure that you can reduce emissions that way. But at what cost?

      What's the cost of not reducing emissions?

      Developing countries are going to have to not only choose renewables, but also encourage the rest of us to use them, or we will all suffer. It doesn't matter what the cost is, does it? The cost of not doing it is far higher.

      • by tp1024 (2409684)

        You go to a developing country and tell them they're fine. They don't need development. They don't need electricity unlike all the developed countries.

        And what is all the "suffering" you're talking about? You mean like New Orleans where all the politicians were too corrupt to build a couple of levees for a few tens of million dollars, even though engineers had warned them for decades in advance that the city will be flooded the next time cat 3 hurricanes comes along? Or do you mean hurricane Sandy that was

  • Start with coal... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jonwil (467024) on Sunday July 06, 2014 @10:49AM (#47393085)

    We need to start by ending ALL money spent by the governments that supports or benefits the coal industry (direct subsidies, governments building rail lines, ports etc to benefit the coal industry, building new coal fired power stations instead of building better alternatives etc)

    And no I dont care if you loose your job because no-one wants the coal your mine (or mining town) produces anymore, much like I dont care that people no longer want asbestos or buggy whips or any other obsolete technology.

  • End ALL subsidies (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pubwvj (1045960)

    The problem is not that fossil fuels gets subsidies. The problem is that there are subsidies. Don't shift the subsidies and give them to someone else. It is time to end all subsidies.

    No fossil fuel subsidies -> gasoline will rise to it's natural price of about $16/gallon, electric prices will rise and there will be more interest in renewables and efficiency.

    No farm subsidies -> food prices will rise for the worst foods but less so for better foods and more local foods.

    No mortgage deduction (a subsidy)

It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. - Voltaire

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