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Cut-price fossil fuels, snakes on planes and Cancun questions

28 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 11 November 2010

As world leaders gather in Seoul to discuss how to drive forward the global economy (and argue over the value of each others currencies), one topic likely to generate a lot of heat will be the subject of fossil fuel subsidies. The latest World Energy Outlook report - produced by the International Energy Agency - has just been published, and shows governments spent over $300bn last year making fossil fuels cheaper to use.

These subsidies make it less-expensive to drive cars, heat homes, cook food - tasks that some regard as basic human rights, and others stress are important factors in helping a country develop economically. Critics suggest the practise leads to wasteful use of energy, and the IEA has estimated that scrapping the subsidies by 2020 would cut global energy demand by 5%.

In this week's One Planet we speak to the IEA's chief economist Fatih Birol, plus we hear from one of Europe's largest energy suppliers - Eon. And we visit two countries with very large fossil fuel subsidies, but with very different incomes per head - Egypt and the UAE.

Also in the show we've got a round up of environmental news from Malaysia, and we ask if there's any point to the forthcoming UN climate change summit in Cancun. As ever, tune in, have a listen and let us know what you think. Email the team at oneplanet@bbc.com, or join us on our Facebook page.

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