Fossil fuel subsidies result in escalating health costs

2nd August 2017


Related Topics

Related tags

  • Reporting ,
  • Fossil fuels ,
  • Energy

Author

Hayley

The global health costs related to air pollution are more than six times greater than what governments pay subsidising fossil fuel energy production.

A new report from the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) reveals that G20 countries spent approximately $444bn (£336bn) in 2014 supporting the oil, gas and coal industries.

However, the health costs associated with producing energy from these sources were found to be around $2.8trn, cutting short the lives of an estimated 6.5 million people worldwide.

“It is time to seize the opportunity to improve the health of millions of people worldwide by abandoning subsidies to the deadly fossil fuel industry,” HEAL executive director, Genon K Jensen, said.

“European and global leaders continue to pledge to tackle climate change and decarbonise our economy, and still give out billions which leads to global warming, and fuels early death.”

China was found to have paid out $1.8trn in health costs related to fossil fuels in 2014 – more than any G20 country, and 18 times what the nation hands out to oil, gas and coal, producers.

The UK spent $6.5bn of public money subsidising fossil fuels, while it paid $30.7bn in the health care costs from premature deaths related to air pollution, just behind Poland and Germany, which spent $39.2bn and $42.7bn respectively.

This comes after a report from the Overseas Development Institute earlier this year showed that the UK subsidises coal to the tune of £356m each year, despite government proclamations to the contrary.

In addition, the UK is the only country out of France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain, described as ‘very poor’ in its transparency of coal subsidy reporting.

“It is ridiculous that we are still subsidising fossil fuels on a large scale,” NHS England South regional lead for sustainability and health, Dr Caroline Jessel, said.

“They are responsible for harming human health and causing devastation to the natural environment and human prosperity through climate change.

“It is even more absurd when we consider that now we have viable affordable alternatives.”

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

A social conscience

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

David Symons, FIEMA, director of sustainability at WSP, and IEMA’s Lesley Wilson, tell Chris Seekings why a growing number of organisations are turning to nature-based solutions to meet their climate goals

6th June 2024

Read more

A system-level review is needed to deliver a large-scale programme of retrofit for existing buildings. Failure to do so will risk missing net-zero targets, argues Amanda Williams

31st May 2024

Read more

Chris Seekings reports from a webinar helping sustainability professionals to use standards effectively

31st May 2024

Read more

Although many organisations focus on scope 1 and 2 emissions, it is vital to factor in scope 3 emissions and use their footprint to drive business change

31st May 2024

Read more

IEMA submits response to the Future Homes Standard consultation

31st May 2024

Read more

What is the role for nature in the Climate Change Act? Sophie Mairesse reports

20th May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close