Home > Uncategorized > WOW! Forbes Reports US Spent TEN TIMES MORE on Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than it Spent on Education

WOW! Forbes Reports US Spent TEN TIMES MORE on Fossil Fuel Subsidies Than it Spent on Education

June 26, 2019

Forbes magazine, hardly a liberal media outlet, offered an astonishing article by James Ellsmore that provided an overview of a recent report by the International Monetary Fund indicating that the US spent TEN TIMES more on subsidies for fossil fuels than it spent on education! In what can only be characterized as an understatement, Mr. Ellsmore offered this quote:

IMF leader Christine Lagarde has noted that the investments made into fossil fuels could be better spent elsewhere, and could have far reaching positive impacts: “There would be more public spending available to build hospitals, to build roads, to build schools and to support education and health for the people. We believe that removing fossil fuel subsidies is the right way to go.”

Readers of this blog know that while I would very happy to have more money available for public education, I would prefer that money not flow through Washington where the neoliberal and/or free market theories of Mr. Duncan and Ms. DeVos would siphon the funds to profiteers and/or religious schools… but subsidizing costly fossil fuels at the expense of increasingly cheaper renewables is insanity:

Simon Buckle, the head of climate change, biodiversity and water division at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development explains: “Subsidies tend to stay in the system and they can become very costly as the cost of new technologies falls. Cost reductions like this were not envisageable even 10 years ago. They have transformed the situation and many renewables are now cost competitive in different locations with coal.”

Buckle’s analysis of the inefficiency of fossil fuel subsidies is illustrated best by the United States’ own expenditure: the $649 billion the US spent on these subsidies in 2015 is more than the country’s defense budget and 10 times the federal spending for education . When read in conjunction with a recent study showing that up to 80% of the United States could in principle be powered by renewables, the amount spent on fossil fuel subsidies seems even more indefensible.

Global warming is the major issue facing our nation… more important than education funding. While having an additional $649 to spend on schools would be wonderful, having to spend that money to relocate schools from low lying areas seems wasteful. It strikes me that a better policy would be to subsidize renewables at the federal level and encourage states and local governments to consider raising more funds for schools through carbon taxes.

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