Ending Big Oil
It’s called Big Oil for a reason — the oil industry has spent the past century using its wealth to ensure both political power and a kind of omnipresence in our lives that requires us to use oil products at almost every turn.
Despite our widespread dependence on oil, climate change fueled largely by the burning of fossil fuels, as well as a long history of spills and other disasters that are fouling our planet, teach us that oil is bad for our planet. Even if climate change wasn’t real, as the tin foil hatters in Congress claim, the pollution caused from burning oil is toxic and filled with carcinogens.
These ill effects are only going to worsen as millions more gas-powered cars are expected to be added to the planet’s roads over the next decade, and the oil industry is keen on ensuring that future. To that end, Big Oil pumps millions into lobbying and campaign contributions to maintain their grip on power in Washington, D.C., which in turn hands out — wait for it — $41 billion in tax breaks and subsidies every year.
That’s right. Taxpayers like you and I pay Big Oil $41 billion each year so we can enjoy the right to breath polluted air, so we can foul our oceans with millions of gallons of spilled oil, and so we can permanently damage the entire planet’s climate.
There are alternative energy sources, but Big Oil works hard to keep government subsidies flowing to oil projects instead of solar, wind and other clean energy projects.
It is time to change the culture in Washington, D.C., when it comes to energy subsidies. Congress and President Obama need to immediately end all subsidies to Big Oil and spend some or all of that money developing clean energy. Not only would this help us end our dependence on oil and reducing the impacts of climate change, in the immediate term it would put millions of people to work.
Big Oil can afford this. The big five oil companies ‚Äî BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell ‚Äî made a profit of nearly $1 trillion over the past decade. If there ever was an industry that did not need government subsidies, it’s the oil industry, which even in the wake of the 2010 spill that wrecked the Gulf of Mexico made record profits.
Oil is doing us no favors, and giving $41 billion annually to Big Oil is only doing us harm. Congress and the president need to end this disastrous and wasteful perk for Big Oil and focus its subsidies on clean, green energy.