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Getting the prices right, by phasing-out fossil-fuel subsidies, is the single most effective measure to cut energy demand

My bold.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 9th, 2010 at 11:56:32 AM EST
Which, it should be noted, is IMF-speak for "poor people don't need to cook their food."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Nov 9th, 2010 at 02:20:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
let them eat sushi.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Nov 9th, 2010 at 02:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fossil-fuel subsidies are of course a wonderful way of indirectly helping the poor...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 10th, 2010 at 02:11:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it's a shit way of helping the poor. But if you live in some third-world backwater, it may be the only way of helping the poor that your infrastructure and institutional system is able to actually make work.

If they mean phasing out subsidies for highway and airport construction, reinstating taxes on airline fuel, actually making oil companies liable for the full damages when their criminal negligence causes catastrophes and so on and so forth and etcetera, then I'd be cheering them on... But I somehow don't think that's what they mean. It rarely is when it's in a G20 memo.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Nov 10th, 2010 at 07:56:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
if you live in some third-world backwater

Do you have an actual concrete example of such a backwater where the government is subsidising fossil fuels in order to "help the poor"?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 10th, 2010 at 08:15:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reasons can always be debated, as can definition of backwater, but if general subsidies of fuel is enough, I give you Sri Lanka:

Zimbabwe asked to stop money printing by IMF as Sri Lanka trail 1600:20 - LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE

In 2004 Sri Lanka jettisoned an IMF backed growth plan that brought 12-month inflation below 2 percent and exchange rate appreciation for the first time in decades, to return to money printing, fuel subsidies, power subsidies, heavy public sector recruitment and state intervention in agricultural markets including fertilizer subsidies.

I think there are many more examples of poor countries subsidising fuel as wella as other basic goods.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Nov 10th, 2010 at 08:43:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indonesia in 1998 is the archetypal example of an IMF riot caused by a cessation of fuel subsidies. But there's also Ecuador in 2001. And that's just five seconds of Google; if I flipped through Globalization and its Discontents, I'd be able to recite a whole laundry list.

Of course, they aren't subsidising fuel for the poor any more...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Nov 10th, 2010 at 01:14:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And here is the IMF 2 months ago approving of similar steps in Iran. Any riots will of course be described by the international press in approving terms, as they will be against Ahmaninajad.

Incidentally, the IMF article also gives a perfect justification for their work on nuclear energy, without actually saying so.

IMF Survey online: If Iran sold more oil and gas on international markets, would that generate a lot more revenue than if they sold it domestically?

Zytek: Yes. At such low prices, domestic demand for energy in Iran has grown very rapidly, and it is increasingly difficult to have energy resources available for export. With the price reform, you will dampen domestic demand, which means more efficient energy use domestically, more energy available for profitable exports, and higher revenues for the country.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Nov 10th, 2010 at 01:51:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, I'm wrong, though I doubt the sincerity of the motivation - ie, it's fear of instability, not a desire to help the poor.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Nov 10th, 2010 at 03:47:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course. That's almost always the motivation for handouts to the poor. But that doesn't mean that taking them away is good policy, unless one belongs to a school of thought that believes in motivating the poor to either revolution or docile slavery by making their lives as miserable as humanly possible.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Nov 10th, 2010 at 03:52:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
a school of thought that believes in motivating the poor to either revolution or docile slavery by making their lives as miserable as humanly possible
You mean like neoliberals who advocate paying people less so thay will work more?

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 04:45:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
that doesn't mean that taking them away is good policy

Neither is leaving them in place. Good policy would be to replace them with something better (less poverty? other energy sources?).

And what share of global fossil fuel subsidies are we talking about here?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 10:05:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Electrification for heat and cooking, mass transit for transport. Which also has lots of other good consequences.

But I guess the need to play games on the copper market will make that go even slower.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 12:04:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russian natgas subsidies...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 06:41:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
let's not forget how Gazprom saved millions of Russians from freezing by its efficient and ultra cheap provision of heat (and electricity) to everybody.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 06:39:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Russia has so far to go until it is a true capitalist nation....

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 10:16:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Notice this fossil subsidy phase-out is exactly what's being handed to the G-20 leaders by the Green Jobs group.  Which G-20 member might have a hard time agreeing to such 5-year fade-out?

(Hint: it's the country which produced the forefather of Oil E. Coyote.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Nov 9th, 2010 at 02:51:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The rest of the world can do the right thing anyway.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Nov 10th, 2010 at 04:08:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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