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Cameron Fenton

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The Trillion Dollar Question at Rio+20

Posted: 06/19/2012 8:01 am

The world has a trillion dollars to spare.

This trillion dollars could finance climate solutions around the globe -- from a transition to a new green and just energy economy, to aggressive adaptation measures in the most vunderable regions. It could be used to alleviate world hunger... 300 times over. Honestly, with a trillion dollars, there isn't much we couldn't do to build a more just and sustainable future.

Unfortunately, right now governments around the globe are giving this trillion dollars to some of the wealthiest corporations on the planet, cooincidently the same ones responsible for driving the climate crisis and feeding our fossil fuel addiction.

We need an energy revolution, we need climate action, and we need to put people ahead of polluters. This trillion dollars is how we pay for it.

But ending subsidies doesn't just make sense from a dollars and cents stand. According to the International Energy Agency, ending subsidies would limit emissions globally to the level needed to get us halfway to keeping the global temperature rise below two degrees. It's not enough, but it's the biggest first step we can take. A first step that people and the planet are in desperate need of.

In Canada, we are responsible for handing out $1.4 billion a year in subsidies. Compared to $1 trillion it doesn't seem like a lot, but when we look at what it could finance and the impact it could have on people all across Canada, it's huge.

Investing this money in post-secondary education could reduce tuition by 57 per cent all across Canada. Using it to fund a green job strategy would create thousands of green jobs (at a time when youth are facing the highest unemployment rate in recent history) in sectors all across Canada. It could give families a massive break by kickstarting a national childcare program, or get a program to ensure the basic right to water is respected on First Nations reserves. The list could go on, but the bottom line is that people in Canada, and around the world, need this money more than oil, gas and coal companies.

Canada and the world need to come together on this and set an ambitious timeline to end these handouts in the next two years, and they can do that at Rio+20.

Today we are joining our friends at 350.org to call on world leaders to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies and we need you help to make the biggest twitter storm the world has ever seen. Join in by going on twitter and telling the world what you think $1.4 billion or $1 trillion could be better spent on.

Let's take this trillion and make it work for the people and the planet.

 

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