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Cutting Fossil Fuel Subsidies: Saving Our Climate On a Budget

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2012-02-07-WOE12_06Subsidies.gif

A common concern about taking action against climate change is the idea that government mandates will muck up the works: hamper business, create bureaucracy and destroy the economy. A new study posits that we can turn that whole concept on its head and achieve half the carbon emission reductions experts are calling for, simply by removing government involvement.

As Slate reports, the International Energy Agency has determined that "Phasing fossil fuel subsidies out would be sufficient to accomplish about half the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions needed to meet the goal of preventing average world temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius."

Two degrees Celsius, a goal set at the Copenhagen UN climate talks in 2010, is considered the de facto dividing line between livability and climate catastrophe.

The IEA website offers a wide array of commentary on the report. And the IEA is not alone. The World Bank, the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund are among those that have called for a shift of funds away from fossil fuel subsidies and towards efforts aimed at dealing with climate change.

Of course, oil companies like ConocoPhillips will tell you cutting oil subsidies is un-American. And maybe they are right. I mean, we put our men and women in uniform to work when we ask them to protect oil tankers. That's employment! When was the last time a Michigan wind turbine needed a military escort?

Cartoonist's note: Bebbo needs two fingers on his right hand to reach a total of six. Bebbo and Kito are digitally-challenged and acknowledged as much in a comic strip last July.

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