Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Right now, we’re stuck with fossil fuels. We have made unprecedented advancements in clean energy – and still, the oil, coal, and gas industries continue to blossom. Despite the fact that society is increasingly dedicated to putting an end to “dirty fuel,” it remains prominent in our country’s framework. In the fight to remove fossil fuels from our energy chain, we’re faced with a formidable enemy: the government.

government fossil fuel subsidies
image courtesy of Alexander Milan


According to Oil Change International, a fossil fuel subsidy is defined as “any government action that lowers the cost of fossil fuel energy production, raises the price received by energy producers or lowers the price paid by energy consumers.” Simply put, fossil fuel subsidies perpetuate practices that harm the planet and the people who live on it.

And the United States government is one of the largest providers. Every year, Congress shells out between $10 and $52 billion to fossil fuel industries. This means that coal, oil, and and gas companies get a generous helping hand from the top. President Obama annually proposes cutting fossil fuel subsidies by about $4 billion. And every year, Congress ensures that the proposals don’t even make it to the voting stage. With this system in place, how can we move away from unsustainable practices?

fossil fuel subsidies
image courtesy of Thomas Bresson

We know that fossil fuels are bad for the environment. Their use has created a 25% increase in the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere in the past 150 years. But we also have to consider the monumental price tag that people all over the world are paying for dirty energy. The National Academy of Sciences estimates that the burning of fossil fuels results in a staggering $120 billion in health-related costs each year. Despite these crippling losses, our government continues to help the industry grow.

There is a lot to gain from ending fossil fuel subsidies. In doing so, the government would have a hefty amount of money ($10-$52 billion) to spend on other valuable – as opposed to harmful – causes. Instead of funding environmentally destructive industries, the government could promote clean energy to make it an accessible option for people all over the country. Eliminating subsidies also removes support of the fossil fuel industry, which would radically reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere.

Take a moment to speak on behalf of the environment by signing this petition. We live in an age where we have the technology – and the motivation – to utilize fossil fuel alternatives. But we can’t compete with the expensive helping hand that Congress gives the industry every year. Use your voice to advocate the end of fossil fuels – and the beginning of a healthier planet.

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