Climate change: brought to you by the U.S. government! According to a study by the Environmental Law Institute, fossil fuels received over $70 billion in subsidies between 2002 and 2008, while traditional sources of renewable energy were given just $12.2 billion.
But the oil industry won’t even admit that the direct spending and tax breaks they get are subsidies – they prefer to call them “incentives”, and claim that attempts to roll back some of those subsidies are actually “new taxes”.
As Grist notes, the ELI report is actually pretty conservative – it didn’t include things like military spending to defend oil in the Middle East or infrastructure spending. But the fossil fuel industry’s free ride is almost over: President Obama’s new federal budget proposal wipes out these breaks and increases funding for clean energy research (and, unfortunately, nuclear power).
Photo credits: The following photos are from Flickr and licensed for commercial use under Creative Commons: “Freeway” by Payton Chung; “SUV” by The Car Spy; “Paper mill in Washington State” by Jan Tik; “Fish face” by Andy Welsh; “Nuclear reactor” by Intamin10; “Factory farm protest sign” by johnnyalive; “Corn” by normanack; “Coal” by Duncan Harris; “Oil rig” by kenhodge13.