Climate warning
Image of Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi

Climate warning

For claiming that fossil fuel subsidies will benefit the poor

With the general elections around the corner, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains focused on lowering fuel prices.
Politically, it’s probably a smart move. ”Cheaper fuel” has been a ballot winner in many other countries, not least in my home country, Sweden.
But would lower fuel prices really help ”the poor,” as Modi claims it will?
In the short run, any price-cut is obviously most welcome for people who are struggling with their day-to-day lives. This means reducing food prices would be a good move, or making public transport cheaper.
Traffic after dark in New Delhi, India. Photo by Marvin Castelino on Unsplash.
Traffic after dark in New Delhi, India. Photo by Marvin Castelino on Unsplash.

The problem with lowering fuel prices (i.e. using the tax-payers money to increase the fossil fuel subsidies) is that this leads to increased carbon emissions at a time when we desperately need to reduce them.
Fossil fuels are the main driver of the climate crisis, and those who will be hit hardest by the climate crisis are always the poor. They are most vulnerable to droughts, floods, extreme heat, and changing weather patterns. And India is unfortunately more vulnerable than most other countries in this respect.
The nation's 260 million farmers depend heavily on depleting water reserves to irrigate their crops. That means they are also struggling with climate change, as about 65% of the country’s cropped area depends on rainwater. Erratic rainfall and shorter winters are harming yields, with heavy downpours causing flooding and a sudden spike in temperatures a year ago causing wheat grain to shrink.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has reported that for every 1°C increase in temperature, wheat production suffers a significant decline of 4-5 million tonnes.
Climate change is also expected to have major health impacts in India, increasing malnutrition and related health disorders such as child stunting, with the poor likely to be affected most severely. According to the World Bank, Child stunting is projected to increase by 35% by 2050 compared to a scenario without climate change.
Malaria and other vector-borne diseases, along with diarrheal infections, which are a major cause of child mortality, are likely to spread into areas where colder temperatures had previously limited transmission.
Therefore, politicians who promise to lower the petrol price ”for the sake of the people” are actually saying: ”I promise to make life very, very difficult for your children.”
Many of these politicians also claim that we simply cannot afford to make the transition to a low-carbon economy. And yes, it will cost a lot. The International Energy Agency, IEA, calculates that the world needs to spend $4.5 trillion annually by 2030 in clean energy investments to limit global warming to 1.5°C
But the truth is we already have all the money we need. We are just spending it on making the climate crisis worse instead of trying to stabilize it.
Fossil-fuel subsidies surged to a record $7 trillion in 2022. That’s more than governments spend annually on education (4.3 percent of global income) and about two-thirds of what they spend on healthcare (10.9 percent).
So Prime Minister Modi, please ask yourself: Is this really what you would call money well spent?


Do you agree?

25 more agrees trigger social media ads

  • George Kariuki

    1 w

    Lowering fuel prices to help the poor? This is a dangerous trap. Let's invest in real solutions!

    3
    • We Don't Have Time

      1 w

      Dear Markus Lutteman Your climate warning has received over 50 agrees! We have reached out to Narendra Modi by email and requested a response. I will keep you updated on any progress! To reach more people and increase the chance of a response, click the Share button above to share the review on your social accounts. For every new member that joins We Don't Have Time from your network, we will plant a tree and attribute it to you! /Adam, We Don't Have Time

      1
      • walter lungayi

        2 w

        This highlights the need for a balanced and sustainable approach to energy policies that align with the transition to cleaner and more environmentally friendly energy sources.

        • mary Mwihaki

          2 w

          This is so disappointing samething needs to be done.

          2
          • Timothy Ndegwa

            2 w

            This is absurd! It reflects Modi's leadership style which is charactised by prioritizing short-term profits over long-term sustainability, highlighting a lack of foresight and disregard for the planet's well-being.

            2
            • Robin Makayi

              2 w

              Balancing The Equation On The Use Of Fossil Fuels And E.V.s Is A Must Do.

              2
              • Munene Mugambi

                2 w

                Lowering fuel prices through fossil fuel subsidies may offer short-term relief, but it worsens environmental degradation and disproportionately harms vulnerable communities. Redirecting funds to clean energy investments would benefit both people and the planet in the long term. We can't insist on that enough!

                4
                • walter lungayi

                  2 w

                  @munene_mugambi I strongly agree with you.

                • Elizabeth Gathigia

                  2 w

                  This is disappointing,

                  3
                  • Patrick Kiash

                    2 w

                    Failure to stabilize the climate crisis will lead to more devastating points, deaths,etc. It's high time many of these politicians should realize clean energy investments are achievable especially if they #movethemoney to the right channels.

                    5
                    • Munene Mugambi

                      2 w

                      @patrick_kiash Politicians must recognize that failure to address the climate crisis will result in increased disasters and fatalities. Shifting funds from fossil fuel subsidies to clean energy investments is crucial and achievable. It is the only way to save the planet actually

                      2
                    • Ingmar Rentzhog

                      2 w

                      It is a lie

                      3
                      • Rashid Kamau

                        2 w

                        How is that even beneficial? one step ahead two steps behind is a wanting move!

                        8
                        • Princess

                          2 w

                          Its disappointing to see such a misguided claim. It's time to prioritize the transition to clean energy for the benefit of all, including the most vulnerable communities.

                          8
                          • Rashid Kamau

                            2 w

                            @princess_nel_268 Clean energy transition is the only way,we can aid the majority.

                            1
                            • Munene Mugambi

                              2 w

                              @princess_nel_268 There is urgent need to prioritize the transition to clean energy, particularly to safeguard vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change. The importance of making informed and responsible decisions to ensure a sustainable future for all cannot be understated.

                              1
                            • Sarah Chabane

                              2 w

                              What.... how can a world leader like Modi say such things

                              3
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