Energy reform means taking a clear-eyed look at our nation’s energy needs and sources, and considering what policies best suit our interests in the 21st century.
Right now, subsidies and tax breaks favor old, dirty, entrenched energy sources over emerging clean, high-tech energy sources of the future. These subsidies and tax breaks keep us tied to foreign sources of energy, and discourage us from developing alternatives here at home and leading the world. We need to consider leveling the playing field.
- DBL Investors found that annual US government support for the oil industry is five times greater than US government support for renewable power. This is despite the fact that oil is a mature industry, and that the largest oil companies racked up a record $137 billion in profits in 2011.
- Taxpayers pony up about $8 billion a year in oil subsidies and $3.3 billion on nuclear power subsidies. In comparison, they spend $400 million on incentives for all renewable power sources combined.
Energy efficiency has huge potential, and must be taken seriously.
- Power companies should get credit for helping customers save energy and money, and not be limited to getting paid for the amount of energy they sell.
- Saving energy means having to build fewer power plants, which saves ratepayers money and cuts down on air pollution and water use.
The true and complete costs of various sources of energy should be considered.
- For example, a National Academy of Sciences study found that burning fossil fuels costs Americans about $120 billion each year in health costs.
- Also: the cost of deploying U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, patrolling its water and supplying military assistance to Mid-East countries is estimated at $50 billion per year.