Subsidizing Oil and Coal Over Alternative Energy

The federal government gives more research and development subsidies to fossil fuels than clean energy technologies. But, why?
June 24, 2012, 9am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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Columnist Phillip Bump of Grist writes on the counterintuitive role federal subsidies play in the energy industry. When comparing research and development subsidies for fossil fuels versus those for cleaner renewables, Bump finds, "[f]ossil fuels received far more research and development subsidies...than did clean energy projects."

This should come as a surprise to many, as the federal government, and government in general, is often viewed as renewable energy's main proponent. Additionally, and from an international standpoint, as Bump writes, "if we want to position the United States as a leader in the emerging clean energy sector, we can't let existing energy systems both kill research and development for clean energy and block attempts to internalize their own costs."

Best put, "[i]magine if your little store was trying to compete with Walmart and the government was giving Walmart far more money than you."

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Published on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 in Grist
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