Call for fossil fuel energy subsidy reform
With the right policy support wind power could reach 1,000 GW by 2020
Global Wind Day, jointly organised by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), had its annual celebration last month.
This year an online action had been launched to put pressure on world leaders ahead of the G8 summit to keep their commitment to phase out fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy.
The level of subsidies to fossil fuels has gone up by nearly 30% to $620bn since 2010 and today fossil fuels receive six times more subsidies than renewable energy. Meanwhile, atmospheric global carbon dioxide levels have reached a record high of 400 ppm seriously hindering efforts to bring human produced emissions under control.
“While world leaders pay lip service to combating climate change, what they are actually doing is subsidizing CO2 emissions to the tune of US$110/tonne. Fossil fuel energy subsidy reform could take us a long way towards protecting the climate”, said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council.
Wind energy has become a mainstream technology. It is already cheaper in Australia and Brazil than conventional energy sources and directly competes with them in an expanding number of markets including Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and parts of China and the US. Wind power is turning into the power technology of choice as utilities, energy planners and governments seek to diversify their energy mix, reduce CO2 emissions and air pollution, protect their economies from volatile fossil fuel prices and benefit from increased investment and job creation. With the right policy support wind could reach 1,000 GW by 2020, avoiding over nine billion tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
Opinion polls and surveys across the markets show overwhelming public support for wind power, providing an important signal to decision makers: According to a Eurobarometer survey, 89% of EU citizens are in favour of wind energy, compared to 43% for coal and 36% for nuclear. In a recent survey in the UK, two-thirds of Britons voted in favour of wind energy.
Global Wind Day provides the opportunity to learn about wind power and its ability to provide a solution to the most pressing global energy challenge. This year marked the fifth edition of Global Wind Day, celebrated at hundreds of activities and events around the world. Global Wind Day is supported by the United Nations and by the Irish presidency of the Council of the European Union.
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