The government of the United Kingdom, which claimed last year to have ceased all subsidies for fossil fuels, has in fact forked out about £368 million to the industry every year from 2005 through 2016, a new research report reveals.
Without that “lifeline”, said Shelagh Whitney, head of the Overseas Development Institute’s climate and energy program, Shelagh Whitley, “the coal industry would not be economically viable.”
Britain is not alone in continuing to subsidize the dirtiest fuel, the ODI notes. It found that collectively, “Europe’s 10 largest carbon emitters—responsible for 84% of the continent’s emissions—have given £5.33 billion in subsidies to coal each year over the past decade,” DeSmog UK reports.
In Britain, none of the money went to “towards helping workers and communities dependent on the industry transition to new jobs or other opportunities,” DeSmog notes. “In fact, only 14% of all coal subsidies provided in the 10 European countries examined goes towards support for workers and communities in the transition to clean energy. €1 billion per year was actually being diverted back to coal.”
Last month, the UK marked its first coal-free day since the industrial revolution began.