The Turkana people in Kenya have a new claim to fame. Rather than being the face of famine in the dustbowls of Africa, they struck oil, and in a big way in 2012.
When it comes to scarcity of resources, one of the most publicly discussed topics is the impending shortage of fossil fuels. As we have known for a while now, global oil reserves are limited. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 2035 will be the decisive year in which the maximum amount of oil production will be achieved. Thereafter, less oil will be available on the market year after year and eventually, reserves will be exhausted. This knowledge implies that people have to change their consumer behavior sooner or later.
Protesters at Rio Centro during the UN Summit
The call for the end of fossil fuel subsidies echoed in all venues of Rio+20. The OECD identified more than 250 individual subsidies supporting fossil-fuel production or consumption valued at US $45-75 billion per year, similar to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country like Croatia or Ecuador. Greenpeace estimates are even higher; the NGO evaluated fossil fuel subsidies in 2012 at $775bn, which is equivalent to the GDP of the Netherlands or Turkey. Stretching over 40 kilometers, from the People’s Summit in Aterro do Flamengo, crossing to the Copacabana Fort all the way to Rio Centro and Parque dos Atletas in Barra da Tijuca, academics and specialists are unanimous in their opinion: fossil fuel subsidies must be extinguished because they are inefficient and prevent the economy from transitioning from the brown to green economy. Oil & Gas Corporations
Who needs the subsidies? Not the Oil & Gas (O&G) corporations. Half of the top ten largest publicly traded companies in the world by market cap are oil and gas producers. Their annual revenues are higher than most mid-size countries.