Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0

We shouldn’t waste tax dollars fueling the climate crisis

Every year, the United States government gives away $20 billion to the fossil fuel industry in the form of tax breaks, incentives and other subsidies, all for an industry that made $28 billion in profits in 2018 alone. This is a colossal waste of taxpayer money that could be better spent on more pressing priorities.

But it’s not just a waste of money. Often our tax dollars are being used to start up, or extend the life, of fossil fuel projects that wouldn't be profitable without assistance. That's why we're calling on congress to stop fueling the climate crisis by ending fossil fuel subsidies.

  • <h4>Fueling the climate crisis</h4><p>If left unchecked fossil fuel energy infrastructure could add more than 650 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.</p>
  • <h4>Wasting our tax dollars</h4><p>Americans subsidize the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $20 billion every year. </p>
  • <h4>We could invest in climate solutions</h4><p>$20 billion could be better spent to accelerate the transition to clean sources of energy, such as wind and solar.</p>
We have to stop subsidizing climate change

We’re already seeing some of the devastating effects climate change has on our environment, health and livelihoods. Given the speed, scope and consequences of the problem, we need to stop burning fossil fuels and shift to clean renewable sources of energy as swiftly as possible. That means we must retire coal-fired power plants, oil-based transportation systems and other fossil fuel infrastructure, which, if we keep operating all of it, will add more than 650 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

And yet fossil fuel companies are still planning new projects that will add nearly 200 billion tons of pollution to that total. That’s bad. It’s even worse that they're counting on American taxpayers to help foot the bill in the form of subsidies and tax breaks.

We shouldn’t be paying to fuel the climate crisis. We need a comprehensive plan to eliminate the burning of fossil fuels. Getting rid of subsidies and tax breaks is an important first step – one that will have a big impact. A 2017 study found that, depending on the region, 40 to 60 percent of oil resources are subsidy-dependent today. Removing these subsidies will allow renewable sources of energy to compete and would stop our tax dollars from being wasted on energy that pollutes our air, and threatens our future.

There are better ways to spend our tax dollars

We should be doing everything we can to accelerate the transition to renewable energy to clean up the largest sources of carbon pollution. We need more wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicles — not more fossil fuel infrastructure. By ending subsidies that give fossil fuels an unwarranted advantage, we’ll free up more money to invest in renewable energy technology and the market will more quickly move toward renewable energy, which is already cost competitive in many places.

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We work to unite people

We work to unite people from all across the political spectrum around commonsense solutions to problems we all face. Our advocates in Washington, D.C., lobby members of Congress from both parties. Our advocates in the states build coalitions that include small business owners, health care professionals, religious leaders and people from all walks of life. Our organizers and canvassers talk to thousands of people every week.

Like Americans across the political spectrum, we believe we should be smart about how we spend our tax dollars and that we should be doing everything we can to avoid the worst environmental and health impacts of climate change. It won’t be easy. The oil, gas and coal industries have deep pockets and outsized political sway. But by showing broad popular support and with a presidential administration and many members of Congress, supportive of ending these subsidies, we have a real opportunity to end them once and for all.