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Let Stockholm+50 be remembered as the end of fossil fuel subsidies

2022.05.31

Let Stockholm+50 be remembered as the end of fossil fuel subsidies

Sustainability

News

This week, the eyes of the world are on Stockholm as one of this year’s most crucial international environmental events takes place. Following months of discussions with communities, organizations and governments around the world, the high-level meeting Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity celebrates and remembers the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment

The event in 1972 was the first world conference on the environment and resulted in the Stockholm Declaration – a series of 26 principles that placed environmental issues at the forefront of international concerns and led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Now, 50 years later, the hundred heads of government and environment ministers that are expected in Stockholm along with climate action leaders, such as UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and former Secretary of State, John Kerry, have several critical decisions ahead of them.

Stockholm+50 can be the turning point that COP26 did not manage to become

At COP26 in Glasgow last year, nearly 200 nations had the unique opportunity to deal head-on with many of the world’s challenges. What started as a promising event turned into a watered-down and disappointing compromise, especially on one of the key issues that the world is facing.

To use the words of John Kerry: fossil fuel subsidies are the “definition of insanity.”

In Glasgow, the EU climate policy chief, Frans Timmermans, emphasized the need to send a clear signal and to “halt fossil fuel subsidies.” And for a short while, this much-needed signal was indeed part of the draft of the final text in terms of a call upon all parties “to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuel."

What started out as a clear signal, however, got progressively watered-down due to pushes from India, China, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. Instead, the final version of the Glasgow Climate Pact called upon all parties to "accelerate efforts towards phase-out of unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”

What could have become a game-changer – in a crucial point in time – was turned into a global disappointment almost as large as the subsidies themselves.

Stockholm+50: The point in time when the world says no to fossil fuel subsidies

To quote the Stockholm+50 organizers: It’s time for bold choices. It’s time for urgent action. One of these bold choices and urgent actions that the world needs is a complete stop of fossil fuel subsidies around the world.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), fossil fuel subsidies reached $5.9 trillion in 2020 or 6.8 percent of the global GDP. This is equivalent to a staggering $11 million a minute or close to $16 billion per day. As if this was not bad enough, the IMF expects global fossil fuel subsidies to continue to increase and reach 7.4 percent of GDP in 2025

If subsidies would be abolished and efficient fuel pricing would become a reality in 2025, however, the IMF forecasts that global carbon dioxide emissions could fall to 36 percent below baseline levels – in alignment with keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees – and prevent close to 1 million deaths due to air pollution per year.

That is why this needs to happen. It is one of the best pathways to fundamental change for the better on a global scale.

Solar park from above

Einride at Stockholm+50: “Put an end to fossil fuel subsidies for good”

During this week, Einride will continue to push for the bold and brave actions that the world urgently needs. As such, our key message will be clear:

Put an end to fossil fuel subsidies for good. And do it now.

Not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because the technological alternatives are available here and now. For example, electrification of transport can reduce emissions by 90% or more. And by combining electric transport with frontline autonomous technology, transportation will not only be environmentally sustainable but will also become substantially safer.

But to make the shift from fossil fuel transportation to a green and electric transportation system, one of the key decisions that the world urgently needs to make is to put a stop to “the definition of insanity,” so we can instead turn our undivided attention to continuing to add momentum to the shift that is already taking place.

Join Einride during Stockholm+50

On Thursday, June 2, between 15:30 and 17:00 CET, Einride will participate in an official event at the Stockholm+50 conference together with companies, government officials, academia and civil society. The event will be streamed live on the link below.

Later that day, between 17:00 and 19:00 CET, Einride will participate in an event co-hosted by the UNDP, the UN Foundation, the City of Stockholm and Norrsken, and that will bring together the world’s leading policy-makers and some of the prominent impact entrepreneurs.

Learn more about this in-person event on this link.

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