Direct Fossil Fuel Subsidies Worldwide:Half a Trillion Dollars Annually
World on Edge and Past Peak Oil
Here are disturbing numbers from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, by Lester R. Brown, and its excerpt Governments Spend $1.4 Billion Per Day to Destabilize Climate released by Earth Policy Institute on Jan.19, 2012.
IEA represents 34 industrial economies through Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, appears to be well aware of peak oil, which has passed, as well as the dangers of climate change.
USA WAS a Leader in Environmental Protection
Lester R. Brown presents facts in a scientific manner,so criticism of his message appear as an attack on environmentalism. Brown became known in the early 1970s when the U.S. was leading environmental protection. That was 40 years ago! What happened to our environmental conscious?
With the USA dragging its feet regarding environmental issues and changing regulations to cater to top economic interests of oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear, worldwide work on the environment has halted
Environmentalists Stand Between Government and Ecological Disaster
Heroic works by the U.S. environmental community using grass roots organizations have managed to stop some horrendous environmental mistakes,like more nuclear plants, more coal plants, uranium mine on rim of Grand Canyon, and pipelines across critical habitat and aquifers that provide drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people.
However, these battles must be fought over and over, as money fills the coffers of friendly politicians who are not educated on what a pipeline, fracking or coal plant will mean to their them or their families.
In its brief report released Jan. 19, 2012, Governments Spend $1.4 Billion Per Day to Destabilize Climate, Earth Policy Institute relays data from the IEA on fossil fuels subsidies.
What happens when changes in energy sources are delayed, and the world uses up all resources? There will be complete economic collapse, social upheaval and unthinkable ecological collapse.
The rising cost of driving in the United States in terms of dollar subsidies has been shown to be equal to the Pentagon budget! The International Center for Technology Assessment calculated that a maximum of $15 per gallon of gasoline was the true cost when indirect or hidden subsidies, as well as direct subsidies, were applied.
Earth Policy Release Data Highlight January 19, 2012
True Cost of Gas
The International Center for Technology Assessment's calculations did not include environmental or health costs of petroleum activities and contamination. Earth Policy Institute now has an estimate for the same cost, but with a different mix of factors:
The indirect costs of gasoline, including climate change, treatment of respiratory illnesses, and military protection, add up to $12 per gallon. Adding this to the U.S. average of $3 per gallon brings the true market price closer to $15 per gallon.
Worldwide, direct fossil fuel subsidies added up to roughly $500 billion in 2010.
Supports on the production side totaled $100 billion. Supports for consumption exceeded $400 billion, with $193 billion for oil, $91 billion for natural gas, $3 billion for coal, and $122 billion spent subsidizing the use of fossil fuel-generated electricity. Governments are paying out nearly $1.4 billion per day to further destabilize the earth's climate.
Alternative Energy is Step-Child
In contrast to the $500 billion in fossil fuel supports in 2010, renewable energy received just $66 billion in subsidies-two thirds for electricity generation from wind, biomass, and other sources, and one third for biofuels. The long legacy of governments propping up oil, coal, and natural gas has resulted in a very uneven energy playing field.
Top Countries Subsidizing Fuel
Country - Fuel Subsidies 2010
Iran - 81 million in subsidies
Saudi Arabia - $44 billion
Russia - $39 billion
India - $22 billion
China - $21 billion
Kuwaiti - $2,800 spent per citizen
United Arab Emirates - $2500 spent per citizen
Qatar - $2500 spent per citizen
Cutting Carbon Emissions and Subsidies
Carbon emissions could be cut in scores of countries by simply eliminating fossil fuel subsidies. Some countries are already doing this. Belgium, France, and Japan have phased out all subsidies for coal, for example. As oil prices have climbed, a number of countries that held fuel prices well below world market prices have greatly reduced or eliminated their motor fuel subsidies because of the heavy fiscal cost. Among those reducing subsidies are China and Indonesia. Even Iran, which was pricing gasoline at one fifth its market price, dramatically reduced its gasoline subsidies in December 2010 as part of broader energy subsidy reforms.
Call to Action
Coal and/or Gas Burned to Produce Electricity
There are no easy answers for energy questions. We, as a people, must decide if a fast car is worth the lungs of our grandchildren; if natural oil to heat our homes is worth polluting our water supply; if chemicals, rather than insects, on our food, is worth birth defects in generations to come; if coal should be used to generate electricity instead of solar power, leveling mountains, polluting water and killing the miners with mesothelioma; if the destruction to gulfs, waterways and critical habitats is worth have oil to run our cars.
Mountain Top Removal for Mining Coal
We have the technology and the intelligence to invent alternatives for energy. In fact, we have. The same companies spending our subsidies also squash any initiative that might take profits from their pockets and the pockets of investors. I believe they have made enough money on the back of Mother Earth. It is time to give back. What do you think?
Dispersant and Gulf Water Do Not Mix
Thanks to Jan Lundberg
of Culture Change. As usual,
Jan has the answers to the
problems that plague us all.