Coal, Oil And Gas Subsidies Are $5 Trillion Per Year Because of Uncharged Air Pollution

Subsidies – Biggest subsidies are for not charging oil, gas, and coal for air pollution and environmental damage. Next biggest bucket is various forms of tax incentives. Then direct spending and research. A lot of the recent nuclear research is for nuclear fusion and not for improving fission. The ITER fusion funding is a waste. Small fusion, molten salt fission should become useful.

$5 Trillion per Year in Air Pollution and Environmental Damage

Subsidies for coal, oil and natural gas were $4.9 trillion worldwide in 2013 and $5.3 trillion in 2015 (6.5% of global GDP in both years). Undercharging for global warming accounts for 22% of the subsidy in 2013, air pollution 46%, broader vehicle externalities 13%, supply costs 11%, and general consumer taxes 8%. China was the biggest subsidizer in 2013 ($1.8 trillion), followed by the United States ($0.6 trillion), and Russia, the European Union, and India (each with about $0.3 trillion). Eliminating subsidies would have reduced global carbon emissions in 2013 by 21% and fossil fuel air pollution deaths 55%, while raising revenue of 4%, and social welfare by 2.2%, of global GDP.

US Subsidies in Tax, Direct Funding and Research

The EIA (US Energy Information Administration) had a study of energy subsidies.

18 thoughts on “Coal, Oil And Gas Subsidies Are $5 Trillion Per Year Because of Uncharged Air Pollution”

  1. Except when those same industries coop governments into passing laws exempting them from financial culpability relating to those same externalities. Subsidies is not just a cash payment, they come in many forms.

    Access to a dictionary does not necessarily aid in reading comprehension.

  2. Besides the use of the word ‘fastidious’ right here in this response, I believe I’ve never used it in print ever.

  3. SPARC is a step in the right direction (towards reality). Still I have no idea how SPARC would compete with Gen IV fission.

  4. Spherical tokamaks might. I have more faith in the work of Dennis Whyte and his MIT team than I do in ITER. But as he put it plainly “SPARC would not exist without big science projects like ITER”.
    So there is always a place and use for big science, thought it might not immediately be evident.
    Still a Gen IV fission man though.

  5. True that. To paraphrase a wise man “the science is spectacular”.

    Tokamaks will never be deployed to produce mass power. Not cost effective and are a dead end that we can all see even though we are decades away from DEMO.

  6. … lack of hurricanes destroying solar farms (at this very moment) is also a subsidy…

    The “You didn’t build that” school of double secret subsidies never ends.

    Oil gets secret subsidies from the Navy that keeps the sea lanes running for all trade.
    Nuclear gets secret subsidies from WWII and the bomb.
    Solar gets secret subsides from NASA and satellite development.

    It is an endless nonproductive dumb blame game and should be mocked as such.

  7. ITER isn’t a waste, it’s a science experiment. Like the Hubble, the JWST, the LHC, etc. It should be treated as such.

  8. Yeppers… fastidious coding. 
    That’ll do it every time. 

    I was thinking the same thing. It seems somewhat hubristic to label “uncharged tariffs / fees / taxes / remediation surcharges” as subsidies. 

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

  9. “Subsidies – Biggest subsidies are for not charging oil, gas, and coal for air pollution and environmental damage. “


    We the Kosher People urgently demand new universal tax across the globe to fund our diabolical New World Order. Please cooperate and pay up.

  10. How is water vapor from clouds treated? And, is the current low level of Solar activity counted as a Solar Subsidy?

  11. Funny. Where are all the anti-government, market fundamentalist comments objecting to these subsidies?? They seem to have gone AWOL. Are they perhaps suffering some kind of cognitive dissonant meltdown?

  12. Many other people object to the earth being labelled spheroid. They think it’s flat. Doesn’t seem like there’s much you can do to change some people’s minds no matter what evidence you throw at them…

  13. More Global Warming propaganda for a phenomenon that has failed every Doomsday prediction made by its most celebrated advocates. The fossil fuels brought us the modern age and saved countless lives. Fossil fuels exist despite the fact they are heavily taxed by government. On the other hand renewable energy cannot exist without subsidies and mandates. Renewables provide no tax revenue and cause unnecessary blackouts and skyrocketing electricity rates.

    If Nuclear Energy is considered the new designs (SSR reactors) could do what “green” energy promises but fails to deliver. But for some reason Nuclear Energy is never in a renewable portfolio. And that is a shameful outcome.

  14. Curious: how is the water vapor from natural gas treated in this framework of “untaxed emissions”?

  15. Subsidy: a sum of money granted by the government or a public body to assist an industry or business so that the price of a commodity or service may remain low or competitive

    Externality: a side effect or consequence of an industrial or commercial activity that affects other parties without this being reflected in the cost of the goods or services involved

    So we here are discussing pollution as an externality.

    (am particularly fastidious today due to writing some excrutiatingly fastidious code)

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