$500 Billion Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Main Barrier To Renewable Energy

mr-amin-kenya-irenaMr. Amin claims that government subsidies given to the fossil fuel industry impedes serious growth of the renewable sector.

On Sunday, Israel made a public NIS2.2 billion (US$0.6 billion) commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That announcement came just days after Rupert Murdoch and Lord Jacob Rothschild bought shares in Genie Oil & Gas Inc., whose subsidiary Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI) was granted license by the Ministry of Infrastructure to proceed with oil shale exploration.

The pair proclaimed that extracting not only Israel’s shale oil, but that of America’s Green River Formation – the world’s largest reserve – would put international energy on a new stage. A western stage, complete with powerful spotlights. This insane chicken dance – two steps forward and a mile back – underscores the challenges facing the renewable energy industry, a challenge that the Interim Director of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) understands all too well.

The Kenyan economist Adrian Amin, who accepted his role as Interim Director of the Abu-Dhabi based agency last month, presented his immediate goals to a team of journalists on Monday.

Amidst the cautious-pessimism of Cancun’s climate change talks and unabated fossil fuel development, the agency aims to establish priorities and mid-term strategies to hasten the speed with which renewable energy programs are implemented.

He notes that Irena will not necessarily implement renewable energy projects, but will rather create a forum for sharing ideas, and even map international solar and wind resources so that countries well-endowed will be empowered to capitalize on their nature-given resources.

Already he has held discussions with the World Meteorological Organization that maintains an exhaustive compilation of one hundreds years of wind velocity and solar radiation data, according to The National.

He lamented that international subsidies to the global tune of $500 billion lavished on the fossil-fuel industry creates the largest impediment to an internationally competitive renewable energy program. This despite the urgent knowledge that energy is responsible for 60% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

By doling out such subsidies, renewable programs can barely break ground to compete with artificially low energy prices. The oil industry has such a powerful hold on governments – and it’s an understandable hold given a planet accustomed to round the clock light and mobility – but it is folly to stab at the dark with half-hearted emissions cuts while still pursuing a relentless carbon addiction.

Irena will examine all kinds of energy alternatives, including nuclear, which Mr. Amin said has become a safer alternative. In the meantime, governments should create a regulatory environment that no longer awards oil-nosers, but lets in a little wind as well!

:: image and story via The National

More about the International Renewable Energy Agency:

Saudi Arabia Seeks to Join International Renewable Energy Group

Reporting An Obvious Absence from the World Future Energy Summit

Israeli Minister Heads to Abu Dhabi Renewable Energy IRENA Meeting

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