It seems like life just keeps getting better and better for renewable energy. Indeed it is, with new funding, new ventures or new technological innovations and improvements announced on an almost daily basis. However, the sad truth is that growth of the renewable energy industry remains vastly underfunded for it to reduce our impact on the environment anytime soon. That is, in part, due to how excellent life remains for the fossil fuel industry, the very industry that renewable resources are supposed to replace some day.
A new study by Bloomberg Energy Finance shows that global subsidies for fossil fuels are nearly 13 times higher than those for renewable energy sources, including front runners wind and solar power, among others. Last year, governments gave a grand total of $43 billion (USD) to renewable energy, according to the study. However, the International Energy Agency reported last month that in 2008, fossil fuels were subsidized globally to the tune of $557 billion.
The most generous renewable energy subsidy of last year was in Germany, costing government $9.6 billion, although the United States spent the most to subsidize clean energy: $19.5 billion. China is reported as spending a relatively small $2 billion on support for renewables, but the study points out that this excludes the country’s state-owned banks, which have offered $24 billion in low-interest loans to renewable energy companies so far this year.
It’s been said before, and it’ll probably be said a thousand times more, but we can’t possibly hope to ween off of fossil fuels if we don’t stop handing their producers cash. Even BP is brazenly looking to take $10 billion from U.S. taxpayers for clean up of their own disaster of an oil spill.