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Sustainability News

Fossil fuel subsidies racking up trillions in health costs

G20 governments spent $444 billion on oil, gas and coal subsidies in 2014 alone. A new study by the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) estimates that the use of those fossil fuels leads to $2.76 trillion in health costs in the G20 thanks to air pollution. The report calls on governments to stop the subsidies and provided examples of how the money could be used to benefit public health.

In the UK – where health costs outweigh energy subsidies by 500% – it suggests that London could pay the salaries of 48,000 nurses and 74,000 junior doctors every year, and install 300,000 solar installations for the same money. The International Energy Agency claims that partially phasing out fossil fuels by 2020 would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 360 million tonnes, which equates to between 12 and 20% of the reduction needed to fulfil the Paris Agreement target.

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