EPIBuilding a Sustainable Future
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A news report coming out of the 2010 G20 Summit reported that “Every day governments give away an estimated two billion dollars of taxpayer money to the fossil-fuel industry.” (Stephen Leahy, Free Ride for Oil and Coal Industry May Be Over, IPS News)

This massive subsidy to the fossil-fuel industry not only is adding to climate change by rewarding the very energy sources that are helping to create it, but it is making it incredibly difficult for alternative energy sources to compete. It also deprives countries, especially those verging on bankruptcy, to feed and educate their population, attend to infrastructure needs, and more.

As Lester Brown says in Plan B 4.0
A world facing economically disruptive climate change can no longer justify subsidies to expand the burning of coal and oil. Shifting these subsidies to the development of climate-benign energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal power will help stabilize the earth’s climate. Shifting subsidies from road construction to rail construction could increase mobility in many situations while reducing carbon emissions. And shifting the $22 billion in annual fishing industry subsidies, which encourage destructive overfishing, to the creation of marine parks to regenerate fisheries would be a giant step in restoring oceanic fisheries.Plan B 4.0 by Lester Brown

In a troubled world economy, where many governments are facing fiscal deficits, these proposed tax and subsidy shifts can help balance the books, create   additional jobs, and save the economy’s eco-supports. Tax and subsidy shifting promises greater energy efficiency, cuts in carbon emissions, and reductions in environmental destruction—a win-win-win situation. A carbon tax on coal, for example, that fully incorporated the climate and health costs of burning it would lead to a quick phaseout. (From Chapter 10, “
Can We Mobilize Fast Enough?”)

Our votes and our voices make a difference. Write to your political leaders about shifting subsidies away from environmentally destructive activities to climate-benign energy sources.


Reah Janise Kauffman
Vice President

Posted by Reah Janise on 07/20 at 10:15 AM


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