With the evidence of our gluttony for oil now rudely lapping at our shores, at the G-20 meeting that just wrapped up in Toronto, Obama pressed for and got agreement from other world leaders to actually end fossil fuel subsidies, by erasing the word “voluntary” in the agreement, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.
Despite the earlier fears of environmentalists that it would be merely a voluntary “goal”, at the last minute a newly muscular non-voluntary end to fossil energy subsidies, was inserted into the final language of the G-20 agreement, at the request of the US President. America.gov found that fossil fuel subsidies amounted to $558 billion worldwide in 2008.
The top 20 nations at the G-20 have now also agreed to ongoing reviews to check on how well each of them lives up to the commitment.
Initially, the agreement was to be a mere “voluntary” agreement, to the alarm of environmentalists. But at the last minute, President Obama changed the wording. By omitting the word “voluntary”, and including checkups, the agreement becomes much stronger.
It appears that coaxing world leaders who run actual democracies to do the right thing for their people is not as difficult as coaxing Senators in this country to.
As the nation that most pampers its fossil energy overlords, it will be US fossil energy companies with the most to lose by this end to fossil fuel subsidies. But with an international agreement, even those that relocate their headquarters off-shore will now be covered by this agreement.
Despite the fossil fuel subsidies that a mere president cannot end, those that keep our Senate from voting with their non-corporate constituents, perhaps America is finally ready to move beyond petroleum.
So far, we’ve cheerfully led the world in the inefficiency of our gasoline vehicles, with 34% sold only getting between 15 and 20 miles per gallon – compared with the carbon-constrained EU where under 1% of vehicles sold are now that inefficient. So our carbon emissions are almost double those of the EU at 256 grams per kilometer, compared with their 140.
But have we finally hit our rock bottom, as they say in the addiction-recovery world? Has the gushing volcano of dangerous oil in the Gulf finally moved us to a different place?
Susan Kraemer @Twitter
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