It’s becoming tiresome hearing government ministers justify their cuts to renewable energy subsidies on the basis that industries must “stand on their own two feet” (Energy minister ‘open-minded’ about UK solar subsidy cuts, 20 October). Energy minister Andrea Leadsom’s assertion that “I don’t think anyone here would advocate an industry that only survives because of a subsidy paid by the billpayer” may sound vaguely reasonable if a) we didn’t have the tricky little problem of climate change to contend with, and b) other energy industries weren’t also subsidised. Your article rightly highlights the enormous subsidies for nuclear, but doesn’t mention those also being given to the fossil fuel industry.

According to the IMF, the UK will spend approximately £26bn on fossil fuel subsidies this year, factoring in new World Health Organisation estimates on harm to health from pollution exposure. By comparison, Department of Energy and Climate Change figures show the cost of supporting renewables in 2014-15 was £3.5bn, expected to rise to £4.3bn in 2015-16. Put another way, every UK citizen pays £412 in fossil fuel subsidies, and just £55 for renewables. How are we ever to wean ourselves off fossil fuels when government policy is so skewed in their favour?
Gwen Harrison
Scientists for Global Responsibility

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Source: Guardian Environment