Why Are We Subsidizing Fossil Fuels?

Why Are We Subsidizing Fossil Fuels?


If we’re really to solve the climate crisis,
truly solve it it will mean closing all fossil fuel industry
in relatively short order. I don’t think that there’s really a future for
a company like Exxon or a company like Shell if we’re going to live responsibly
when it comes to climate. We have to zero out on emissions entirely. And that means essentially wiping
fossil fuel infrastructure off the planet. And how that will come to pass,
I think has to be a policy question which means a politics question. The fossil fuel business in the U.S. is
being subsidized by the federal government. It’s succeeding in part because of
the support of the government. If we took those subsidies away, the
economic calculus would be very different. Today, based on the pollution that is being
produced by fossil fuel companies and industries thousands of Americans are dying every year. Globally, the number is in the millions. And we are doing that for the benefit of
the owners of those fossil fuel companies and almost no one else. We are subsidizing those companies
so the executives and investors can make money at the cost of the health
and well-being of the people of this country who are suffering already and will suffer
much more intensely in the decades ahead if we don’t change course right now. Globally, we are subsidizing the fossil fuel
business to the tune of $5.3 trillion dollars a year. Most of the subsidies have to do with the fact that the price does not yet adequately
reflect the environmental cost of these fuels. If we had a price that did adequately reflect that I think that that would go quite a long way
towards changing the incentive structure of companies like, say, Exxon or Shell. I think some of them are sort of advocating
imposing a carbon tax as a kind of trade off in a bargain in which they would receive
immunity from future liability lawsuits. And I think that reflects that
kind of cold-eyed calculation of what they think is coming for them
politically in the decades ahead as we understand just how damaging their product
has been to the public health of the planet over the last few decades and will be even more so in the decades ahead. I think history will render a very brutal
verdict on fossil fuel companies. In particular, you know, Exxon. And Shell, I also think has had
a long history of denial funding disinformation, funding inertia on climate. I think they will be seen in much worse light
than say the cigarette companies are today. Their behavior in the marketplace, their behavior
in searching out new reserves to use in the future is, practically speaking, suicidal. And I don’t just mean that for them as companies I mean that for us as a planet and as a species. On the other hand, I also think that
we vilify particular entities even those who are genuinely villainous in part as a way to alleviate our own
sense of responsibility and guilt. Because I benefit from the fossil fuel economy. Everyone alive today on the planet to some
degree benefits from that fossil economy. And it’s up to us to make a change to that system. It’s not just a matter of Rex Tillerson’s villainy. It’s a matter of the way that we have all
collectively chosen to conduct our lives. Choosing cheap energy and material comforts that would in the past not have been
possible without fossil fuels. We’re sort of voting that way ourselves every day. And as much as we would like to believe otherwise most of us are voting to continue
the system that we have today rather than traumatically changing it as we need to. We need to have a way to avoid drilling
and producing those fossil fuels. We need to stop building new infrastructure,
which we’re doing every day. We basically need to cut this
entire industry off at the root if we have any hope of securing a
future for ourselves that is livable.

4 thoughts on “Why Are We Subsidizing Fossil Fuels?

  1. He's right that every person benefits from cheap fossil fuels and therefore the solution (though politically impossible) has to be the taxation of end-use products rather than casting blame on the companies that produce. The only way to reduce consumption is if you price in the climate cost to consumers – and Americans more than most other nations, have the ability to pay that tax. Blaming American companies will only drive production from less regulated foreign companies.

  2. But what about the Democrats and Republicans Land and Water Conservation funding? First I heard of the liability issue. Another reason for pension plans to divest.

  3. #Hemp #Solutions https://youtu.be/54vD_cPCQM8 Henry Ford's 'plastic hemp car' from 1941
    https://youtu.be/srgE6Tzi3Lg
    We might think that our ethanol and biodiesel "flex-fuel" systems are all very cutting edge, but biofuel development is of course nothing new. Way back in the 1930's, Henry Ford was hard at work in the alt-fuels sector, and in 1941 he constructed a hemp-fueled and hemp-bodied prototype car. The "plastic" body panels were composed of 70% cellulose fibers, including industrial hemp, mixed with a resin binder, and apparently they were pretty sturdy: check out this video, in which a guy beats on the trunk with an axe and fails to leave a mark. Industrial hemp won't make you high, kids, but its association with marijuana has historically been a major legal stumbling block. VIEW VIDEO OF FORDS HEMP CAR HAVING A HAMMER TAKEN TO IT !!

  4. I agree with this guy that the government has no business subsidizing oil companies. Although I commend him on his beliefs, I cannot take a journalist seriously. Spends years researching industries, why not spend years studying to become an engineer and come up with an alternate solution. Seem kinda counter productive

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