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How can we continue to subsidize climate change?

How can we continue to subsidize climate change?

Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Climate crisis driving child marriages: report

Sorting recyclables and trash is a hard, dirty job. If that’s what you do to make ends meet, you deserve some basic dignity: decent wages, health care, job security and a lunch break would be a bare minimum. That’s what I helped fight for when we unionized the workforce in Orange County, Calif. 

These folks were largely immigrants, and their employer took full advantage of them — they even had to schedule in advance when they could take a bathroom break.  

We have won them some well-deserved protections but climate change threatens them. The worksite will be made worse by rising temperatures. Droughts and water restrictions will make it more difficult to shower at night. Rising sea levels are likely to flood coastal areas, disrupting the waste handling process. A glass of clean, potable water is fast becoming a luxury product.   

My family and friends back home in Orange County are something I think about often. What they face is a stark reminder that there won’t be any jobs on a dead planet.   

At the forefront of the climate crisis — right now, not down the road — are workers, poor people, mostly people of color. They have been paying a disproportionate price for what is happening now and yet they’ve had the least to do with heating up the climate and screwing up the planet.  

I’m based in Washington D.C. now, where Congress has an annual dance around federal budget negotiations. Politicians, including President BidenJoe BidenTrump declares he’s not interested in becoming Speaker if GOP retakes House Biden administration supports antitrust efforts Energy & Environment — Oil companies rebuff House chairman LEARN MOREWe have spoken about eliminating fossil fuel subsidies. These payments act as “atta-boys” for large corporations who take pride in minuscule steps to stop destroying our planet. Yet, on a different track that is unfortunately stalled in the Senate, however, the climate agenda in Biden’s Build Back better plan still offers one of the best chances to save our planet.  

Instead of trying to push the issue down the road, lawmakers can take action now to combat climate change. Three reasons are apparent why ending subsidies to the fossil fuel industry should be the first place you look. 

One reason is that fossil fuel companies are responsible to the climate crisis. It is the practice of burning fossil fuels for heat and electricity, as well as transportation. single-largest contributor to the climate crisis. Only 50 fossil fuels companies account for half of global industrial greenhouse gas emissions. 

Despite the fact that this industry is a thriving one, our government has subsidized it for decades. Majority of voters want to end fossil fuel subsidies. These are just a few of the roughly $20 billion in direct payments given to the fossil fuel industry every year, a whopping $15 billion comes from the federal government.   

Fossil fuel extracting projects that are currently underway would cause enough climate change to push us well above 1.5 degrees Celsius of global heating. Continuing to explore for and develop new reserves of coal, oil and gas would spell climate catastrophe — that’s not where Americans’ tax dollars should be going.  

The second reason is the fact that fossil fuel pollution is racism at work. The dangerous effects of climate change are intensified by the toxic pollution that is released from fossil fuel extraction, refining, and burning. It is often the working-class, Black, Brown, Indigenous, or Indigenous communities that are most affected.  

In Port Arthur, Texas, Black working-class communities have been hammered by both Air pollution due to chemical plants built next door as well as the Climate change has made storms worse.  

Apopka in Florida has seen rising temperatures. outdoor work nearly unsustainable for Latinx construction workers and farm workers. These communities are too vulnerable if there are no regulations.   

In Many Farms (Ariz.), an area belonging to the Navajo Nationsevere drought  has forced Native farmers to stop growing traditional crops and sell off their cattle because of the lack of water and fresh vegetation to eat.   

See Also
The Race to Produce Sustainable Steel – Mother Jones

Why should we stop subsidizing? Fossil fuel companies block climate solutions.   

Subsidies like those provided by America indirectly fund lobbying efforts. Fossil fuel interest was high between 2000 and 2016. Nearly $2 billion spent to derail climate legislation.   

It is ludicrous, then, for the U.S. to devote funds to climate resilience and climate solutions — as the Build Back Better plan proposes to do — and also continue providing the biggest polluters with dollars that could be used to derail those same solutions. Democracy is most effective when it acts in the best interests of its citizens and not for corporate profits.   

It is crucial to both preserve jobs and fight rising energy costs for Americans. Millions of honest, hardworking Americans earn a living from the fossil fuel sector. Like Orange County workers, work is vital to their livelihoods. But if climate change destroys our planet, it won’t matter what profession any of us work in. Money that isn’t given to fossil-fuel companies can be redistributed to offset rising energy costs or split up into education funds or other social support.   

We must rethink the economy so that all our children can have a decent life. This begins by valuing the planet above fossil fuel industries. 

Tefere Geben is the chief program officer of Greenpeace USA and former executive vice president of the AFL-CIO.



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