Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Ireland Report
Posted by Meaghan Carmody on March 30, 2020 at 05:05 PM
Friends of the Earth Ireland via its involvement in the Citizens for Financial Justice European project commissioned an independent researcher to investigate fossil fuel subsidies in Ireland.
A fossil fuel subsidy is any form of government intervention that lowers production costs, reduces market risks for, or attributes values to fossil fuel producers. Much of the fossil fuel economy would not be economically viable were it not for direct state intervention through subsidies in different forms. The research unearthed some troubling information that highlights how entrenched the Irish state is in propping up the fossil fuel industry, for example by funding a University body that partners with fossil fuel giants such as Exxon, Shell and BP. What's more, the European Investment Bank gave €100m to upgrade and expand the gas network, and our semi-state electricity board is planning to build 4 new gas power plants (costing €700m), mostly to power data centres.
Right now, these actions are a slap in the face to the Paris Agreement. Methane is the primary constituent of natural gas, and it is significantly more damaging to the climate than any other greenhouse gas. There is simply no room for gas in a world of the precipice of climate catastrophe.
Fossil Fuel subsidies socialise risk by placing the burden of bailing out the soon-to-fail industry onto the taxpayer. Additionally, fossil fuel subsidies distort the renewable energy market by locking us into a system addicted to fossil fuels, sending dodgy signals to the energy marke by telling it that putting money in fossil fuels is a safe bet, when we know it’s a sunset industry! In sum, fossil fuel subsidies impede the transition to a fossil fuel future.
Instead, finance needs to be redirected and channelled towards clean alternatives, and the fundamental economics of clean energy needs to be supported rather than hindered by those who run our country. We need to tell our elected officials that we to see a strict timeline to phase out supply side natural gas subsidies, and instead give the renewable energy market the chance it needs to flourish!
*This research was produced with the financial support of the European Union. It is the sole responsibility of Citizens for Financial Justice and does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.