Thursday, February 04, 2010

Is Obama really eliminating fossil fuel subsidies?

The short answer: no, hell no, as I describe in a recent piece for my day job (expensive subscription required):
White House officials are claiming the Obama administration’s proposed 2011 budget eliminates subsidies for fossil fuels, saving taxpayers $40 billion over the next decade. But that projected savings is dwarfed by the amount the U.S. government spends protecting oil supplies and trade routes in the Persian Gulf, an estimated $27 billion-$138 billion annual subsidy to the oil industry that experts say increases global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

At the same time, the Obama administration is proposing more than $1 billion in new funding for fossil fuel research and development, including $668 million for the Department of Energy’s “Clean Coal Power Initiative,” which aims to develop and commercialize new environmental technologies for the coal industry—suggesting what constitutes a fossil fuel “subsidy” is more a political decision than a policy one.

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