This list of sustainability indicators by Bloomberg illustrates several important points related to energy, including how much the most highly profitable and polluting industries on the planet live off our tax money. Take these two numbers, for instance:
- $409 billion: "worldwide government subsidies given to the fossil-fuel industry in 2010."
- $66 billion: "global subsidies for renewable energy in 2010."
As you can see, subsidies to fossil fuels dwarfed those to renewable energy in 2010, as they have historically. This is the case despite the fact that the 5 largest oil companies made $1 trillion in profits between 2001 and 2011. Not coincidentally, "For every $1 spent on lobbying in Washington, the big five received $30 worth of tax breaks."
Meanwhile, in spite of a playing field that's heavily tilted in favor of fossil fuels, three more statistics in the Bloomberg list jumped out at us:
- $260 billion: "global investment in renewable energy in 2011."
- $1 trillion: "worldwide investments in renewable energy through 2011."
- 73.3 gigawatts: "additional global wind and solar capacity planned for 2012."
- 82%: "decline in solar panel prices since August 2009."
What these numbers demonstrate is clear: even as taxpayers continue to pour money into subsidizing highly profitable fossil-fuel-focused energy companies, clean energy is booming, scaling, and catching up to fossil fuels at a rapid rate.