Fossil fuels get five times the subsidies of renewable solar and wind

Fossil fuels get more than $70 billion dollars a year in U.S. government subsidies (tax breaks and direct spending), while solar and wind get only about $12 billion, so fossil fuels got more than five times as much, while nuclear got ten times as much (especially in Georgia). Even corn ethanol, that sounded-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time boondoggle, gets more subsidies than solar and wind put together.

That’s without even going into the externalities such as healthcare costs due to polution, environmental destruction through mountaintop removal for coal, tar sands oil drilling, and fracking for natural gas, and wars for oil and uranium.

Graphic by GOOD and Deeplocal. Data by Environmental Law Institute.

Back when oil, gas, and nuclear were shiny and new and we didn’t know about their downsides like massive pollution, sickness, and climate change, government support for them made sense and we did support them even more massively than we do now, and far more massively than we are supporting solar and wind now, as Fred noted on ReVision Energy 6 March 2013,

In a recent study of historical US Federal Energy Subsidies, the authors found that “when the first 15 years of subsidy life are compared, government support for the oil, gas and nuclear industries as a percentage of inflation-adjusted federal spending far outweighed the support granted to renewables … adjusting for inflation, between 1918 and 2009, the oil and gas industry received a cumulative $446.96 billion in subsidies compared to just $5.93 billion given to renewables in the years between 1994 and 2009. Meanwhile, the nuclear industry benefitted from a cumulative $185.38 billion in federal subsidies between 1947 and 1999.”

Let’s level the playing field, for jobs, for energy independence, for clean air and water. Save money, pop the carbon bubble: end fossil fuel subsidies.