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Climate Nexus Demolishes "WSJ's $21 Billion Subsidy Hypocrisy"

2 min. read

The following commentary, from Climate Nexus, is well worth passing along.

WSJ's $21 Billion Subsidy Hypocrisy

The Wall Street Journal — continuing its tradition of providing free advertising for fossil fuels in the form of opinion pieces — published an oped by Tim Phillips arguing that we should end the wind power Production Tax Credit (PTC), a 22-year-old subsidy for wind power. It just so happens, however, that Phillips is none other than the president of Americans for Prosperity, the oil-loving, Koch-funded right-wing "free market" advocacy group.

So what does fossil-fuel-funded Phillips have to say? He claims the PTC's costs are exorbitant, unduly burdening taxpayers, and that some states pay even though they don't produce any wind. Phillips concludes by pointing out that when the wind industry feared the tax credit would end in 2012, there was a 90 percent drop in new projects brought online. According to his twisted logic, the subsidy should therefore end because the industry needs it. (He, of course, fails to mention how the annual approval process for the PTC creates an extremely inefficient boom and bust cycle; meanwhile, fossil fuel subsidies are locked-in.)

While Phillips feigns outrage over the $7.3 billion spent over the past seven years on the PTC, he remains silent about the $21.6 billion spent in subsidies for fossil fuel exploration and production in 2013 alone.

Perhaps if Americans for Prosperity were for the prosperity of ALL Americans, Phillips would be writing to end the $21.6 billion spent annually on fossil fuel subsidies, and not crusading against a clean energy program that costs a third of that amount over seven years.

Also keep in mind what Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N.'s Climate Change Secretariat, said yesterday about how "investment in fossil fuel is actually a high risk, is getting more and more risky." Yet that's exactly what oil industry propagandists like Tim Phillips want us to double down on? It makes no sense whatsoever -- unless, of course, you have a direct financial stake in the fossil fuel industry. As the classic quote by Upton Sinclair goes, "'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.'