Subsidies encourage policies that can be mutually exclusive. Renewable energy subsidies are noticeable because they visibly go to people who buy electric cars or put solar panels on their house. Industry subsidies are harder to see, and the debate is swayed by special interest lobbying and advertising. To put the subsidies in perspective;
“Coal, oil and gas get more than $370bn (£305bn) a year in support, compared with $100bn for renewables, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report found. Just 10-30% of the fossil fuel subsidies would pay for a global transition to clean energy, the IISD said.”
$100B is an enormous number, particularly because the planet has fewer than 8B people. At the same time that renewable energy is being subsidized to counter the effects of fossil fuels, fossil fuels are receiving more than three times the subsidies. Without their support, renewable energy’s advance would be slower. Without their support, fossil fuel’s demise would be happening sooner. It is impressive that renewable energy has made the progress it’s made considering the imbalance in support. Looking at both simultaneously suggests either rebalancing, or removing the subsidies. Considering the time required for our response to the crisis, speeding up the removal of the causes and speeding up the introduction of the solutions may be necessary, and it looks like a mechanism is already in place.