The diplomatic effort behind COP26 — the United Nations climate conference — failed to meet the scale of the climate emergency. While an agreement was reached to phase out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies, even this was watered downin last-minute negotiations. Too little, too late frontline communities edge of extinction.
Every year, billions of dollars are spent on oil, coal, and gas companies by governments. Over the past 30 year, just 100 of these companiesOver 70% of climate chaos-causing emissions are caused by fossil fuels. The shortcomings of COP26 means active citizens must push national governments to end these ridiculous fossil fuel handouts — including in the United States.
Some subsidies may have made economic sense in their day: The “intangible drilling costs” deduction, passed in 1913, allows companies to immediately write off the costs of digging for oil.
Congress can help us transition to a new era without fossil-free energy. For one, the Build Back Better Act, if it should pass, would be the U.S. government’s largest investment in climate action.
Unfortunately, the current legislation has some holes that are crater-sized. There are concernsIt is not able to finance programs that benefit historically marginalized populations and it does not address intangible drilling cost or other domestic fossil fuel handouts.
Some of these individuals were identified by the Biden administration earlier in the year. $121 billionOver 10 years in subsidies that should be repealedBy Congress. These repeals must also be included in the final version of a bill by the negotiators.
Fossil fuels can be extremely dangerous for the human race. Researchers estimated that nearly 80% of people are exposed to fossil fuel emissions in 2018. 20 percentThe number of global deaths is approximately 8. This does not include deaths related to extreme weatheror to the political instability that is causing the climate crisis to intensify.
The climate crisis will impact all of us, but it won’t affect us all equally. We are facing a catastrophe that is affecting marginalized communities. Indigenous groupsPeople of color, and they will have to work harder and faster.
A quarter of a million AmericansLive in dangerously polluted areas. Many of these in “sacrifice zones” are in the shadow of the U.S. oil industryThis has only been possible because of the. expandedThrough subsidies. As the world’s largest historical carbon emitterThe U.S. is morally bound to end industry handouts after a terrible legacy of environmental injustice.
Of course, Congress didn’t simply overlook subsidies in the Build Back Better Act. The oil and natural gas industry has already spent over $80 millionHow to lobby in 2021 Proposed repeals threaten Washington’s fossil fuel-friendly status quo and many companies are already lobbying to protect their tax breaks.
From Washington to Glasgow, host of the recent UN climate change conference (COP26), industry lobbyists are “flooding the zone.” Fossil fuel company representatives at COP26 outnumberedThey were the largest country delegations and twice the size of the UN constituency to Indigenous peoples.
It is obvious that the fossil fuel industry is holding back Congress’s action on subsidies. Democratic Party leaders are cavingmoderate Democrats claim to be worried about corporate interests and moderate Democrats say they are worried about them unfair targeting of the industry — which is ironic, given how heavily the subsidies have favored it up until now.
Keeping those “intangible drilling costs” and other handouts alive is a priority for Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia — a fact revealed in a leaked memoThis summer. This is not surprising. Manchin has taken almost $600,000 from the oil and gas industry in 2021 alone — hundreds of thousands more than any of his colleagues in the U.S. Senate.
The state fossil of West Virginia, fittingly, is a giant sloth. Its slow movements reflect what climate scientist Michael Mann calls the industry’s new approach of “climate inactivism.” Its guiding principles: delay, deflect, disinformTo keep emissions down and to ensure that subsidies are flowing, you can do just about anything.
Congress is making meaningful efforts to make the world fossil-free again, including allocating billions for clean energy development through Build Back Better. However, funding innovation is not enough to prevent extinction. put an end to extraction, too. This begins with stopping the subsidies and reclaiming government funds to address climate effects and historical environmental injustices.