Sunday, 22 April 2012

Danish minister - and the IEA - mislead about fossil fuel subsidies

As the profitability of wind and solar is fast declining, due to cuts in subsidies and tax breaks, the international renewable energy lobby and warmist ministers are desperately trying to counteract by using dubious International Energy Agency statistics:

Last year, David Cameron´s - now deposed retired - energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne noted in a speech:

 “Globally, subsidies for fossil fuels outstrip subsidies for renewables by a factor of five.”

The latest warmist government minister to use the same argument is "wind energy superpower" Denmark´s Christian Friis Bach:

Speaking at the Center for Global Development event, Danish Development Cooperation Minister Christian Friis Bach noted that fossil fuels received four to five times more subsidies worldwide than renewable energy. 

Many people have not yet realized that IEA is not anymore the kind energy security organization it used to be. The once highly revered Paris based institution is now in the forefront of the global warming "sustainability" crusade. This is also clearly reflected in its approach to statistics.

Ben Pile gives us the reality behind the IEA´s, Huhne´s and Friis Bach´s "facts":

Even more disingenuous is the claim that fossil fuel subsidies outstrip subsidies for the renewable sector by five (or twelve) times. It makes no sense to talk about the proportions of global and absolute subsidies without any idea of how much actual substance were produced by those subsidies. If conventional energy production is more than five or twelve times greater than renewable energy production, then in fact renewable energy enjoys a greater level of subsidy than conventional energy. 

However, according to the IEA (PDF here), in 2008, the world produced fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas, peat) equivalent to 10,065 million tonnes of oil (Mtoe), but only 90.2Mtoe of energy from renewables (geothermal, solar, electricity and heat, wind). So although renewables only enjoyed a tenth (or so) of the subsides that fossil fuels received, fossil fuels accounted for 112 times as much energy. In other words, on a Mtoe basis, the renewable sector received nearly 13 times as much subsidisation as the fossil fuel sector.
This calculation doesn’t include hyro-electric generation. Some might say this is unfair. But large hydro projects are not included in the UNEP’s definition of ‘renewable’, though small hydro is.

Pile admits that his calculation is crude, but the overall picture is clear: The renewable energy lobby and its warmist government supporters are not being honest about the true costs of wind and solar power.

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