A new report from two international research groups is helping to spotlight the cozy & disturbing relationship between the world’s largest climate polluters and G20 governments. Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International have found that G20 governments are spending approximately $88 billion for immensely profitable corporations to find new sources of oil and gas despite “clear evidence” that most of these reserves should be left in place to avoid climate change.
In fact, government subsidies from countries like the United States, Australia, Russia, and the UK outpace the level of investment by these same companies in oil and gas exploration and development! Some of the biggest recipients of government subsidies include Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips - some of the most profitable corporations on the planet. In simple terms, taxpayers pick up the tab, corporate shareholders keep the profits.
Fossil fuel industry profits are astronomical—more than $271 billion last year. How do they do it? The answer as is so often the case, is runaway spending on politicians around the world. In the United States, campaign contributions and lobbying spending on the 112th Congress amounted to more than $536 million dollars – that averages out to more than $1 million dollars for every single member of the House and Senate. That’s a lot of special interest money for politicians but a drop in the bucket for an industry that has seen astronomical profits year after year.
Despite the unequal playing field, prices for renewable energy are falling, and renewables are increasingly looking like the better investment! Ending fossil fuel subsidies is one of the most immediate and impactful things our governments can do to begin to usher in a renewable energy revolution that and address climate change and grows our economy. G20 nations have pledged to do it, but here at home our Congress is deep in the pockets of big oil and gas.
What Can We Do?
We think it’s time to Get the Dough Out of Politics and make our elected leaders more accountable to the people — not just to their big donors and allies. But it’s going to take a huge movement of citizens here at home taking action to protect our elections from the flood of money from corporations, SuperPACs, and other deep pockets. The movement is already building. You can get involved by visiting our friends at Free Speech for People.