How to Raise Public Health Spending Above Fossil Fuel Subsidies

By path2positive

Well, this is sick: As the EU Observer reports below, a study by four researchers from the International Monetary Fund "calculated the true costs of the widespread practice of giving tax benefits and other subsidies to companies in the fossil fuel industry (coal, oil, gas). It was a shocking figure, the authors themselves said: $5.3 trillion. The figure is higher than what governments worldwide spend on public health." How do we turn these numbers around? First, we need the obvious audiences (read: health professionals) to connect the appropriate dots between climate and health. Next, we need leaders to emerge from within their health institutions. Climate for Health can help on this front: it is our responsibility to help the public prepare for the health risks posed by our changing climate, and to empower them to care for climate change as part of caring for their own health. Lastly, we need to stretch the boundaries outside of the health field and connect with other sectors, be they governmental, business, educational or religious. Current climate leaders had a chance to do this at our MomentUs Summit this year. Rest assured, we have room for other leaders to join us. Jump aboard.


Coal, Oil, Gas Subsidies Higher Than Public Health Spending

EU Observer

By Peter Teffer I May 19, 2015

Around 1.6 million premature deaths would be prevented annually if the world's governments stopped subsidizing fossil fuels, a study by four researchers from the International Monetary Fund found.

The most relative gains could be made in eastern Europe and Turkey, where 60 percent of the people who die as a result of air pollution are estimated could be saved.

The IMF study, published Monday (18 May), calculated the “true costs” of the widespread practice of giving tax benefits and other subsidies to companies in the fossil fuel industry (coal, oil, gas). It was a “shocking” figure, the authors themselves said: $5.3 trillion, or about €4.7 trillion.

The figure is higher than what governments worldwide spend on public health.

In their calculation, the researchers included “its supply costs and the damage that energy consumption inflicts on people and the environment”.

They argue that most of the costs of health and environmental problems that fossil fuels cause are not paid by the industry but by governments and its taxpayers.

The burning of fossil fuels contributes to air pollution, which in turn is estimated to cause around 400,000 people in the EU to die prematurely each year. The EU commission has put the annual economic costs of the health impacts of air pollution at between €330 and €940 billion for the EU.

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