We are subsidizing our own destruction.
The fossil fuel industry is cashing in on government welfare. According to a new report from Oil Change International, the oil, gas, and coal industries raked in $21.6 billion dollars in state and federal subsidies in 2013 alone. In comparison, the entire 2013 budget request for the Department of Labor was only $12 billion dollars, and the Environmental Protection Agency only requested about $8 billion. We're giving the industry that destroys our planet more than two and half times the amount we pay to protect it.
As EcoWatch.com points out, subsidies to fossil fuel companies are “particularly harmful and hypocritical.” The world's leading scientific institutions, including the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all say that the majority of fossil fuels must stay in the ground in order to prevent extreme global warming. One of this new report's authors said, “The science is clear that at least two-thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change – it is time for the U.S. government to show leadership and immediately end the massive subsidies that encourage their production.”
Not only do these subsidies pad the pockets of oil companies, but they put tax payers on the hook for the social costs of destroying our planet. If Big Oil had to pay the true cost of fossil fuel extraction, they wouldn't be able to drill away without a second thought about the communities and the lives that they devastate in the process. It's time to demand that our government start making $20 billion dollar investments in our future, instead of subsidizing the very industries that are bringing about our destruction.