Technology subsidies will help solve environmental issues

Technology subsidies will help solve environmental issues
Published: 15 September 2019 - 12:45 p.m.
By: Carla Sertin

While economic growth and urbanisation are positive trends in the development of humankind, they also contribute to an increase in the world's population and exacerbate the shortage of three inextricably linked resources: energy, water and food. The issue of ensuring their availability, as well as security, requires a comprehensive approach, said Rae Kwon Chung, chairman of the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee, member of the IPCC, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

The shift of subsidies towards green energy, sustainable agriculture and land use, as well as support for technological solutions in the field of production, storage and transfer of energy resources will not only answer this challenge, but will also have a positive impact on solving environmental problems.

According to Rae Kwon Chung, climate change is exacerbating the uncertain environment surrounding the growing demand for food, energy and water. “We are stuck in a vicious circle: increased production of food, energy and water is worsening the climate crisis. Agriculture and land use is responsible for around one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, according to the IPCC report, extreme weather conditions, such as periods of extreme heat, floods, droughts, undermine the basic water supply of one fourth of the world population."

By 2050, the world's population will reach 10bn people. This will become another critical factor. Energy production systems, as well as food and water supply should be reviewed. In addition, at the same time, a fight against climate change should accompany this transformation.

Firstly, according to Rae Kwon Chung, subsidies for the exploration, production and operation of fossil fuels (amounting to $370bn per year) should be redirected to support renewable energy sources, which are currently financed four times less (about $100bn). A shift in subsidies even by 10-30% from traditional sources towards renewable energy sources will be able to recoup the global transition to green energy.

Secondly, introduction of environmentally friendly measures for food production are in demand, taking into account the reduction of harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Thirdly, according to the expert, the support of scientific developments is critical. Moreover, this support is needed not only in the field of fossil and green energy production, but also in the area of storage, transmission and energy efficiency of resources.

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