Flatt: Fuel subsidies undermine clean air reforms

In China fuel (and many other things) are heavily subsidized for fear the masses will grumble too loudly if they had to pay their real costs. In Venezuela the subsidies are used to prop up Hugo Chavez’ regime. Turns out they’re undermining efforts to clear the air too, reports Victor Flatt from Copenhagen:

“Nothing worse for development than subsidies.” So says Jose Maria Figueroa, former President of Costa Rica, in a panel discussion today about the need for eliminating energy subsidies around the world.
In the developing world, fossil fuel energy usage is subsidized to the tune of $750,000,000,000 annually (that’s 750 “B” as in “billion”). Though politically difficult (recent rioting in Iran focused on ending gasoline subsidies), getting rid of these subsidies could cut CO2 production by 20% of the amount targeted by the UN by 2050.