OIL SHE WROTE: Big Oil, Coal, Environmental Disasters and Subsidies for the Free Market (Free to be Exploited)

It’s known to many now that, unsurprisingly, Goldman Sachs (one of the grand bailout winners) was President Obama’s #1 campaign donor. #1 (must read, simple article here).

In case you’re wondering who the great lobbyists on the Hill are these days, take a guess at Big Oil—and other environmental disasters—who have wracked up profits in the last few years literally greater than any other entrepreneurial venture in history. They’re so powerful, they even get the protectionism of an all-out military invasion in Iraq, which sends 4.7 million Iraqis fleeing from their homes under desperate, terrorized conditions.

Anyway, is global warming real? Yes. The cause known? Some of the causes appear to be known, yes, and appear to be us. So we’re making massive, essential efforts at developing and using renewable energies, right? Well, we need to fight harder!

This from the Environmental Law Institute:

The research demonstrates that the federal government provided substantially larger subsidies to fossil fuels than to renewables. Fossil fuels benefited from approximately $72 billion over the seven-year period, while subsidies for renewable fuels totaled only $29 billion. More than half the subsidies for renewables—$16.8 billion—are attributable to corn-based ethanol, the climate effects of which are hotly disputed. Of the fossil fuel subsidies, $70.2 billion went to traditional sources—such as coal and oil—and $2.3 billion went to carbon capture and storage, which is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Thus, energy subsidies highly favored energy sources that emit high levels of greenhouse gases over sources that would decrease our climate footprint.

I would truly suggest, encourage, plea for letters, emails, phone calls to your Congressperson and the President’s office. Seriously. It’s a start anyway—and cut down where you can in this oil driven world.

From the actual report:

Applying a conservative approach, explained in further detail below, ELI found that

• The vast majority of federal subsidies for fossil fuels and renewable energy supported energy sources that emit high levels of greenhouse gases when used as fuel.

• The federal government provided substantially larger subsidies to fossil fuels than to renewables. Subsidies to fossil fuels—a mature, developed industry that has enjoyed government support for many years—totaled approximately $72 billion over the study period, representing a direct cost to taxpayers.

• Subsidies for renewable fuels, a relatively young and developing industry, totaled $29 billion over the same period.

• Subsidies to fossil fuels generally increased over the study period (though they decreased in 2008), while funding for renewables increased but saw a precipitous drop in 2006-07 (though they increased in 2008).

• Most of the largest subsidies to fossil fuels were written into the U.S. Tax Code as permanent provisions. By comparison, many subsidies for renewables are time-limited initiatives implemented through energy bills, with expiration dates that limit their usefulness to the renewables industry.

• The vast majority of subsidy dollars to fossil fuels can be attributed to just a handful of tax breaks, such as the Foreign Tax Credit ($15.3 billion) and the Credit for Production of Nonconventional Fuels ($14.1 billion). The largest of these, the Foreign Tax Credit, applies to the overseas production of oil through an obscure provision of the Tax Code, which allows energy companies to claim a tax credit for payments that would normally receive less-beneficial tax treatment.

• Almost half of the subsidies for renewables are attributable to corn-based ethanol, the use of which, while decreasing American reliance on foreign oil, raises considerable questions about effects on climate.

Keep trying to change, trying to be active, trying to feel part of community, democracy, love,



Leave a Reply