A recent paper released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should shock all of us who believe in a green future based on renewable energy. Despite stark warnings from scientists, fossil fuel subsidies continue to grow: this year alone, it is estimated that dirty coal and energy corporations will receive a staggering $5.3 trillion from governments worldwide.
To put this into perspective, the sum is more than the healthcare budget of all the countries in the world combined. It works out at $600 million per hour, $10 million per minute, and $200,000 per second. Just imagine what we could do with that kind of money. We could eradicate poverty, invest in clean energy, boost health and education systems, start a food revolution, and create more jobs in these industries as a result. Instead of the logical option, our governments choose to spend our tax dollars on propping up the same corporations that are poisoning us and the planet (while making ridiculously huge profits at the same time).
If you’re a US taxpayer, you should be doubly pissed about this news. Whether you know it or not, you are helping the likes of ExxonMobil, Shell, and Marathon Petroleum- and not just when you fill up at the pump. In 2014 alone, US taxpayers subsidized fossil fuel exploration and production by $21 billion. Think that’s bad? This year the sum will be an estimated $700 billion.
In addition to all this lunacy, a separate investigation by the Guardian newspaper in London has highlighted the trail of dirty money connecting these enormous subsidies and political sponsorship. They report:
- Shell made an annual profit of $26.8bn in 2012, and yet that very same year it won a deal to receive $1.6bn more in taxpayer’s money for its Pennsylvania refinery over the next few years.
- ExxonMobil is set to receive $119m for its Baton Rouge plant according to a deal signed in 2011, even though the corporation made a staggering $41bn profit that year.
- In 2011, Marathon Petroleum made $2.4bn, but still needed more to keep ticking along, so a jobs subsidy scheme in Ohio subsidized the corp by $78m.
“Big oil, gas, and coal have huge influence on politicians and governments and they get that influence the old fashioned way: they buy it,” Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, told the Guardian last month.
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