Fossil fuels burden the trade balance

Imports of mineral oil, gas and coal still make up large parts of import spending in many countries.

Despite continuously low fossil fuels prices on international markets, imports of mineral oil, gas and coal still make up large parts of import spending in many countries. This is the case for developing and emerging countries, as well as for many industrialized nations. Recent data from the World Trade Organization (WTO) indicate that in 2015 the cost of global net imports for fossil fuels reached around 1.9 trillion $ (1.7 trillion Euros). “The demand for energy cuts deep holes into state budgets. Pushing the transition to renewable sources, on the other hand, would create the means for urgently needed investments”, explains Managing Director of the German Renewable Energies Agency (AEE), Philipp Vohrer.

Germany spent about 60 billion Euros on importing fossil energy in 2015, which equaled a 6 percent share of all goods shipped into the country. Despite the expansion of renewable energy sources on the electricity market, the energy import dependency of the country still stands at 70 percent. “Only if we advance the expansion of renewable energies to the heat and transport sector will we be able to tackle the economic and environmental impact of fossil fuels”, stresses Vohrer. It is in those areas where most of the fossil imports are being consumed. In face of currently increasing oil prices, Vohrer is expecting significantly higher import costs of oil and gas in the future.

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Irmina Blachnik