Worldwide, Fossil Fuels Get 12 Times the Subsidies as Clean Energy


Photo: Bureau of Land Management

A consensus seems to be growing that since comprehensive energy reform is now a long ways off in the US, the least we can do is get rid of subsidies and handouts for fossil fuel companies. And this new report from the USC Marshall School of Business illustrates why: Worldwide, fossil fuels receive a staggering 12 times the amount in subsidies that clean energy does.It's no wonder growth in the clean energy sector here in the US is so stunted -- fossil fuels are a much safer bet. Here in the US, the government still gives tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to oil companies every year. And elsewhere, there's much heavier state support. The LA Times parses the report:

Energy from fossil fuel gets 12 times more in subsidies worldwide than sustainable energy ... That discrepancy, as well as other barriers including high clean-tech start-up costs and low prices for products, keep green investment from booming ...

Without clear global policies on how to regulate and incentivize green business and technology, investors aren't making any long-term bets on the industry, which is also less lucrative than the fossil fuel market.

And remember, fossil fuel companies are regularly out-lobbying the clean energy industry by huge margins whenever a bill comes along that seeks to address the above issues. In 2009, for instance, Exxon alone spent more money lobbying Congress against the climate bill than the entire clean energy sector spent combined.

In short, if we hope to give clean energy companies a fair shot at market share, the playing field is going to need to be leveled to attract investors. Cutting subsidies for oil and coal companies should be a top priority.

More on Ending Oil & Gas Subsidies
Hidden Oil Subsidies : We Need to END Them
Obama Seeks to Cut $38 Billion Coal & Oil Subsidies Out of Budget
Without Subsidies Coal & Oil Companies "Out of Business in a Couple Years": Robert Kennedy Jr

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