In today’s dog-eat-dog economic system, people want the facts. They want to see the math, and ultimately, they want to know how it affects their personal lives. Because if you can’t show someone how pollution or climate change affects their health or wallet, they’re not likely to care.
That’s why I love this new video from the Climate Reality Project. It’s called “The True Price of Carbon” and in just two minutes, it exposes one of the greatest swindles in the history of mankind. Sadly, it shows how all of us have been tricked into picking up the massive tab for carbon pollution while fossil fuel companies laugh all the way to the bank.
Your first reaction might be to think: “It must be more complicated than that! There’s got to be risks and expenses I don’t understand. Surely Big Oil and Coal companies haven’t been allowed to shift the entire burden of their industry onto American taxpayers?!”
But they have. In fact, we’re literally PAYING them to poison our families and our planet. Every year, the U.S. Government (aka you, the taxpayer) forks over billions in tax credits and subsidies to oil, coal and gas companies. These are the very companies fighting against clean air and water standards and blocking the development of renewable energy technologies.
These subsidies are renewed, almost without question, decade after decade. Your hard-earned money subsidizes earth-wrecking practices like mountaintop removal mining, offshore drilling and hydraulic fracturing — despite the fact that they’re completely unnecessary. In the last year alone, the largest oil companies took home more than $137 billion in profits. Every time the price at the pump ticks up just a penny, another $200 million flows into the oil industry coffers (and guess who decides the price?).
In 2012, for the second time in a row, the U.S. Senate decided to continue over $20 billion in taxpayer subsidies to major oil companies. And how did they afford this generous gift in a time of fiscal cliffs and sequester? They took it from you, of course. They slashed the budgets of social programs, public schools, education for military personnel, national parks, and our infrastructure, which is literally crumbling to the ground.
It’s time to put an end to this insanity. As the video suggests, it’s time to stop talking about the high price of carbon, and instead put a high price ON carbon. The ones who benefit from pollution should pick up the tab for its destruction, plain and simple. Whether through a carbon tax or a cap and trade system, it’s time for oil, gas and coal companies to bear the brunt of their destructive ways. Maybe, just maybe, if we hit them in the wallet, they’ll be more willing to leave ancient, inefficient fossil fuels behind and join us in the clean energy future.
Image via Thinkstock
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