Energy Subsidies Black, Not Green

A study released by the Environmental Law Institute, a nonpartisan research and policy organization, shows that the federal government has provided substantially larger subsidies to fossil fuels than to renewables. Subsidies to fossil fuels totaled approxi- mately $72 billion over the seven-year study period, while subsidies for renewable fuels totaled $29 billion over the same period. The vast majority of subsidies support energy sources that emit high levels of greenhouse gases when used as fuel. Moreover,
just a handful of tax breaks make up the largest portion of subsidies for fossil fuels, with the most significant of these, the Foreign Tax Credit, supporting the overseas production of oil. More than half of the subsidies for renewables are attributable to corn-based ethanol, the use of which, while decreasing American reliance on foreign oil, has generated concern about climate effects.These figures raise the question of whether scarce government funds might be better allocated to move the United States towards a low-carbon economy.

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