Oy, I know that it has been a long time since I last blogged! I am going to blog more regularly in the coming months.
For now, I want to share some interesting resources on the political influence of the fossil fuel industry. Putting these pieces together leads to a full and disturbing picture about how the fossil fuel industry manipulates our political system.
Let’s start here: for every one dollar that fossil fuel companies spend on lobbying, they receive ~$59 in federal subsidies. This fact comes from Oil Change International, an organization that tracks fossil fuel lobbying and its effects. The reality is staggering–it means that fossil fuel companies have a rate of return of 5800%.
So what are the effects of these subsidies? Now we turn to a recent report by the Overseas Development Institute. The report shows that these outrageously large subsidies inhibit the ability of clean energy to develop. They also limit the amount spent on climate adaptation: rich countries spend 7 times more on fossil fuel subsidies than they do on aiding poor countries with adaptation to climate change. Lastly, subsidies aren’t benefiting the poor. The poorest 20% receive about 7% of the subsidies, while the richest 20% received 40% of the subsidies.
The logical response to this situation would be: let’s end fossil fuel subsidies. Well (unsurprisingly), efforts to repeal fossil fuel subsidies have failed. Oil Change International comes in again to fill in the last piece of this puzzle: in 2012, there was a proposal to repeal $2.4 billion in subsidies to the top 5 oil companies. The politicians who voted AGAINST repealed the subsidies had received 4 times more in campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.
So there’s the twisted situation. This is why we divest: so that we can build a mass movement that will a) stigmatize the fossil fuel industry, b) call on politicians to stop bending to the fossil fuel lobby, and c) hold politicians accountable to their constituents.
On another note, there is now a new initiative on First Here, Then Everywhere! This month, FHTE is taking a different perspective and featuring the San Diego Archaeological Center. Learn about SDAC here, and read an interview with the Executive Director here.