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article imageCut all fossil fuel subsidies now, says banking head

By Tim Sandle     Apr 16, 2015 in Environment
Jim Yong Kim, head of the World Bank, has called for a five-point plan to deliver low-carbon growth. The plan includes removing incentives to exploit oil, gas and coal.
Kim has additionally demanded subsidies for fossil fuels be scrapped in order to stem the tide of global warming. In expressing this concern, he said that he was particularly concerned about the impact on poorer countries.
Kim made these points in a recent interview with The Guardian. Kim was on his way to the half-yearly meeting of the World Bank in Washington, DC. During the interview, Kim stated that he was in support of energy of the divestment campaigns established by students on university campuses in the U.S.
The World Bank chief said: “We have a whole new generation that is interested in climate change.”
In the interview he said that he was in favour of raising taxes on the use of carbon in order to herald in a wave of clean technology. Governments globally spend around $1 trillion per year subsidising fossil fuels. According to Kim, this sends out the wrong economic signal, goes against competitive market ideology, and encourages companies to burn more carbon.
Countries deemed to be the worst offenders, in terms of subsidies, are India and China; whereas the best country for making the use of fossil fuels more expensive in order to promote cleaner forms of energy is South Korea.
One form of clean energy that Kim supports is hydroelectric power, especially for Africa. The building of dams has proved controversial in the past. However, Kim notes that Africa has used just 1 percent of its water-to-electricity potential. Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water.
Here Kim warns: “There is plenty of coal in Africa. If we step back, if we don’t move forward on hydro, then the natural progression is to more coal.”
In related news, leading environmentalist and former Green Party spokesperson Jonathon Porritt has called on all charities with a health or environmental focus to pull out of investing in fossil fuels. This includes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Porritt is the founding director of the sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future (FFF) organization.
More about World bank, Fossil fuels, Global warming, Climate change, Jonathon Porritt
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