Subsidizing Renewables: Why this is important

The truth exposed by the BP oil spill is how damaging oil use can be for our environment and planet. It’s tough to see the impact of climate change because of its small, subtle changes over many years. Seeing wildlife destroyed by the oil spill and knowing that most of our future oil will come from deep sea projects (similar to this disaster), it’s time to think serious about our alternatives.

The first thing I would explore to nudge our incentives in the right direction would be Federal Subsidies. Barry Ritholz recently put together a chart summarizing the use of federal subsidies for fossil fuels and renewables based on data from the Environmental Law Institute.

Federal Subsidies

The vast majority of subsidy dollars to fossil fuels can be attributed to just a handful of tax breaks,

Note: Almost half of the subsidies for renewables are attributable to corn-based ethanol.

The argument that oil is cheaper than renewables has less strength when all the subsidies are accounted for. I’d take a wind turbine on a hillside over oil and the inevitable environmental destruction any day.

The Big Picture, Barry Ritholtz

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