Prince Charles: Governments Must Scrap Fossil Fuel Subsidies
"In damaging our climate we become the architects of our destruction." Watch Prince Charles' opening speech #COP21 https://t.co/assRpnTEmT— Guardian Environment (@Guardian Environment)1448886183.0
John Key, the New Zealand Prime Minister, presented the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Communiqué to Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on behalf of the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform and its supporters.
Philippe Joubert, chair of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, said: “The CLG's long-standing efforts to put a price on carbon, including most recently working with the World Bank through the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, will soon deliver results.
“It doesn't make sense that, at the same time, governments artificially deflate the cost of coal, oil and gas, the primary cause of GHG emissions. Fossil fuel subsidies must be ended to stop this contradiction and enhance a real transition to low carbon energy.”
The announcement was made shortly after Prince Charles addressed the COP21 conference. He said: “In damaging our climate we become the architects of our own destruction. While the planet can survive the scorching of the Earth and the rising of the waters, the human race cannot. The absurd thing is we know exactly what needs to be done.”
The UK was among the countries to sign the communiqué. David Cameron, the British prime minister, is due to speak at the COP21 conference in Paris later today. DeSmog UK earlier this month that the UK provides £6 billion in subsidies to fossil fuels.
Key said: “Fossil fuel subsidy reform is the missing piece of the climate change puzzle. It’s estimated that more than a third of global carbon emissions, between 1980 and 2010, were driven by fossil fuel subsidies.
“Their elimination would represent one seventh of the effort needed to achieve our target of ensuring global temperatures do not rise by more than 2°C. As with any subsidy reform, change will take courage and strong political will, but with oil prices at record lows and the global focus on a low carbon future—the timing for this reform has never been better.”
According to the UNFCCC statement: “An unprecedented coalition of close to 40 governments, hundreds of businesses and influential international organisations has called today for accelerated action to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, a move that would help bridge the gap to keep global temperature rise below 2°C.”
The communiqué calls on the international community to increase efforts to phase out perverse subsidies to fossil fuels by promoting policy transparency, ambitious reform and targated support for the poorest.
Governments spend more than $500 billion of public resources a year to keep domestic prices for oil, gas and coal artificially low. Removing fossil fuel subsidies would reduce greenhouse gas emission by 10 per cent by 2050.
Figueres said in accepting the Communiqué: “These subsidies contribute to the inefficient use of fossil fuels, undermine the development of energy efficient technologies, act as a drag on clean, green energy deployment and in many developing countries do little to assist the poorest of the poor in the first place.
“The huge sums involved globally could be better spent on schools, health care, renewable energies and building resilient societies. The current, very low oil prices are a good opportunity to really get going on this issue.”
Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden, said: “History will prove fossil fuel to be a dead end. Sweden will be amongst the first fossil free welfare nations of the world. And eliminating fossil fuel subsidies is an important step on this path.”
Hakima El Haite, Environment Minister of Morocco, candidate for the presidency of COP22, said: “Not only do fossil fuel subsidies put a strain on government coffers but they also don’t help the poorest of society.”
Almost 40 countries have endorsed the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Communiqué, including: Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Samoa, the U.S., Uganda and Uruguay.
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1. Fragrance – Avoid It<p>One of the fastest ways to narrow down your product options is immediately eliminating any product that promotes a fragrance, or parfum. That scent of "fresh breeze" or lemon might initially smell good, but the fragrance does not last. What does last? The concoction of various undisclosed and unregulated chemicals that created that fragrance.</p><p>Many fragrances contain phthalates, which are linked to many health risks including reproductive problems and cancer.</p>
2. With Bleach? Do Without<p>Going scent-free should have narrowed down your options substantially – now, check the front of the remaining packaging. Any that include ammonia or chlorine bleach ought to go, as these substances are irritating and corrosive to your body. While bleach is commonly known as a powerful disinfectant, there are safer alternatives that you can use in your home, such as sodium borate or hydrogen peroxide.</p><p>While you're at it, check if there are any warnings on the label – "flammable," "use in ventilated area," etc. – if the product is hazardous, that's a red flag and should be avoided.</p>
3. Check the Back Label<p>Flip to the back of the remaining contenders and check out that ingredient list. Less is more, here. Opt for a shorter ingredient list with words you recognize and/or can pronounce.</p><p>You may notice many products do not have ingredient lists – while this doesn't necessarily mean they contain toxic ingredients, transparency is key. Feel free to look up a list online, or stick to products that are open about their ingredients.</p>
4. Ingredients to Avoid<p>We already mentioned that cleaners containing fragrance or parfum, and bleach or ammonia should be avoided, but there are other ingredients to look out for as well.</p><ul><li>Quaternary ammonium "quats" – lung irritants that contribute to asthma and other breathing problems. Also linger on surfaces long after they've been cleaned.</li><li>Parabens – Known hormone disruptor; can contribute to ailments such as cancer</li><li>Triclosan – triclosan and other antibacterial chemicals are registered with the EPA as pesticides. Triclosan is a known hormone disruptor and can also impact your immune system.</li><li>Formaldehyde – Causes irritation of eyes, nose, and throat; studies suggest formaldehyde exposure is linked with certain varieties of cancer. Can be found in products or become a byproduct of chemical reactions in the air.</li></ul>
Cleaning Products and Toxics: The Bottom Line<p>Do your research. There are many cleaning products available, but taking these steps will drastically reduce your options and help keep your home toxic-free. Protecting your home from bacteria and viruses is important, but make sure you do so in a way that doesn't introduce other health risks into the home.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank">Environmental Health News</a>. </em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649054624#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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