Fossil fuel subsidy

September 05, 2019


THIS refers to the news item ‘Investors, lenders critical of renewable energy policy’ (Aug 24). We have been blessed with an abundance of sunlight and wind, yet we turn to fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and now the latest addition — coal.

The UN advises to let fossil fuels be buried and stop subsidising them. The IMF periodically assesses global subsidies for fossil fuels as part of its work on climate and it has found that they received a whopping $5.2 trillion in subsidies in 2017.

Investment in renewable energy will never reach its true potential as long as we keep on underpricing fossil fuels and allowing carbon polluters to dump their waste in the atmosphere for free.

We as a society pay these costs, especially with the rise of air pollution owing to the harmful effects of carbon, disproportionately hitting the poorest the most.

Karachi is the fourth most air polluted city in the world, affecting all, especially pregnant women, children and senior citizens. We see its negative impact in the shape of asthma, diabetes, heart ailments, cancer, etc. Most affected are the intelligence quotient levels of growing children.

Indoors, it is worse, with particulate matter 2.5 levels five to 10 times higher than outdoor levels.

The government must take clear and right decisions or we will all pay a heavy price with our lives and of our future generations.

Venu Advani

Published in Dawn, September 5th, 2019