Fossil Fuels

Published on February 8th, 2016 | by James Ayre

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Canada Gives ~$46 Billion Per Year In Fossil Fuel Subsidies

February 8th, 2016 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

The Canadian government subsidizes the fossil fuel industry in the country to the tune of around $46.4 billion a year, according to a report from the IMF last year — with $1.4 billion of this referring to pre-tax subsidies, and a further $44.6 billion referring to externalized costs to society that aren’t accounted for.

image9What could these funds be used for rather than subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, one might ask. Certainly a good question, but what happens when one of the (if not the) primary industry of a country loses its government support? Without the country’s oil industry what would happen to the economy?

Arguably this is a question with implications that are now bearing down, regardless of how one feels about the oil industry — as the tar sands aren’t economical at current oil prices. And the Canadian economy does seem to be taking quite a hit now as a result. But is that reason enough to give the industry a free pass as far as covering its costs to society?

With that subject in mind, an interesting article recently laid things out in a pretty clear way:

And what could Canada do with another $46 billion each year? In terms of badly needed public transit, we could immediately pay for both the new Broadway SkyTrain line and the Bloor Street subway extension in Toronto, and still have $40 billion left over. There are also 120 kilometers of proposed light rail projects in the country we could finally build and only be down to $35 billion. Remember, these badly needed infrastructure investments are one-time expenses and the subsidies identified by the IMF rack up every year.

Other urgent needs include building and maintaining affordable housing, estimated to be about $3 billion annually. The public portion of a national pharmacare program might amount to an extra $1 billion each year (though it could also save us money too). That still leaves billions of annual public revenue that could provide tax relief to those shifting away from fossil fuels as well as transition training for displaced workers in our beleaguered oil sector.

So is Ottawa going to eliminate all $48 billion in giveaways identified by the IMF? Of course not. Politics is the art of the possible, and public opinion — while heading in the right direction — is not there yet.

For instance, $30 billion of our total subsidies flagged by the IMF are for petroleum. Canadians buy around 58 billion liters of gas and diesel each year. Covering all externalized costs of that fuel use would require additional taxes of about $0.50 per liter, a tall order even for a politician of Trudeau’s current popularity.

Of course all of this does assume that the fossil fuel industry in the country could continue to operate at a level that would allow these funds to be collected at all, when subjected to such high accountability (with regard to public health, climate change, air and water pollution, etc), which is something of an open question.

That said, oil prices will continue their volatile boom and bust cycle for quite awhile longer — likely until most economically recoverable reserves are run dry later this century, without significant changes to modern culture and lifestyles anyways, that is — so it seems likely that tar sands production will enter a boom phase again at some point.

With that in mind, forcing the industry to cover its own costs seems prudent. (Arguably the numbers quoted above don’t actually cover all of the damage that is done by the industry to human health and to the biological productivity of the wider environment though, it should be noted. Perhaps they should be higher.)

(Tip of the hat to “Ktowntslafan” on the Tesla Motors Club forum.)

Reprinted with permission.


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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • Brett

    Story just came out today that the Premier of the Province Saskatchewan wants the Federal Government to provide $146 Million to out of work oil workers who would be tasked with cleaning up gas and oil wells that are no longer used.

    Just goes to show some of those externalized costs could now start to costing Canadian taxpayers real money.

  • Infernovideo

    Thanks for the numbers. By contrast how much subsidy does the government give to clean energy each year?

    • Bob Fearn

      In BC zip.

  • sjc_1

    The money could be used for health care and education, lowering taxes for everyone.

    • rockyredneck

      You do know, don’t you, that that money does not actually exist? There is no actual cash paid to anyone.

      • sault

        But the healthcare bills due to exposure to pollution are very real. And since we’re talking about Canada, the government stands to cut its healthcare expenses a lot by reducing pollution.

        • rockyredneck

          That can be said of every country, state or community that exists. Pollution levels from the oil sands are actually very low and effect very few. That cannot be said for the air pollution in most major cities. If you want to talk downstream pollution then place the blame where it is appropriate, downstream.

          • sault

            So properly regulate the Tar Sands so we at least don’t have cancer clusters in First Nations communities downriver. Then regulate the oil refinery adequately so they don’t release dangerous amounts of benzene and other toxic chemicals. Then adequately regulate vehicle exhaust to lower air pollution from vehicles. Or just tax every barrel of Tar Sands oil and pass along the costs so that oil consumers get the price signal they need to reduce the damage oil consumption causes. Until either of these options happens, the oil is subsidized and artificially cheap because the full cost of consumption aren’t included into the price per barrel.

          • rockyredneck

            You are quoting problems in downstream communities that has been shown to not exist in reality.
            I agree that fuel burning vehicles need to be as efficient and non polluting as possible but it would be best if smaller vehicles that were used less (and/or eventually EVs) would become the norm. It is hardly fair to tax the producers when the real problem lies with the consumer. I fully support more taxes at the gas pump. I also support incentives for efficient housing because taxes would hurt the poor.
            That is the problem with taxes at the producer level. They are totally indiscriminate and hurt the poorer people the most while having little influence on the behaviour of the wealthier people.

  • Brian

    Turn the dirty polluting Tar Sands area into a giant solar power plant, and wind farm. A solar power plant this size, with a wind farm, could provide enough electricity for the entire country. This would be an opportunity for Canada to show the world, that after the pro oil industry puppet Harper left, they have decided to move into 100% clean renewable energy, and abandon the horribly polluting dirty Tar Sands.

    • jimnbert

      Is that anywhere near true? If a reasonable calculation showed it to be true it would be a powerful argument for RE. How would it compare with the amount of oil coming out of the same place?

      • rockyredneck

        It would make more sense to turn that horribly polluting city of Los Angeles into a giant solar plant. After all there is a lot more sun there, if you got rid of the source of all the air pollution, and it covers more area than the oil sands mines.

        • sault

          You’re not being serious. The real estate in LA is thousands of times more expensive than in Alberta and the GDP output of the LA Basin is many times larger than the Tar Sands.

          • rockyredneck

            No, I am not serious, just proposing another ridiculous scenario. And why is LA output more important to the U.S. than Alberta output to Canada.
            Creating pollution for the sake of entertainment and lavish lifestyles does not seem to me to give the moral high ground.

      • Bob Fearn
  • Craig Teller

    The external costs of fossil fuels are quite real but probably should be separated from subsidies. Subsidies, by the way, can include direct costs such as Canadian ships in the Persian Gulf that are there to ensure the flow of oil.

    But there’s also an actionable distinction between the two. Subsidies can be altered by direct government changes in the laws of a single country or even the laws of a state or province. With one vote, a subsidy can be stopped.

    Unfortunately, to a large extent, the external costs of fossil fuels cross borders and require international cooperation to deal with those costs. Yes, if Canada stopped all fossil fuel production, some external costs would start dropping.

    I don’t want to belabor the point, but we probably won’t make much of a dent in understanding the financial costs of fossil fuels until the global emissions of CO2 have been substantially dropping for twenty years.

    • rockyredneck

      Why would Canada be interested in ensuring the flow of oil from the ME?

      • sault

        Canada’s biggest trading partner is the USA and the USA is dependent on stable oil markets. Plus, Canada tends to get dragged into whatever military adventurism the USA is doing.

        • rockyredneck

          The rejection of the keystone pipeline would put the lie to your statement about stable oil markets. You are right that we are strong allies but it is NATO that usually influences Canadian involvement, although The U.S. has a strong influence there.

          • Craig Teller

            If you want to understand truly unstable oil markets, first review the crash in 2008 after oil hit $147 a barrel in summer 2008. There were other factors, but the role of oil prices cannot be discounted.

            Then go look at the price hikes in oil during the 1970s, sometimes because of embargoes and sometimes because OPEC simply wanted more money. But a major factor was that the U.S. reached maximum production
            in oil in 1970.

            The current instability, of course, is in the opposite direction. It’s a price war with some serious foreign policy parameters. To some extent, it is also affected by fear of new energy sources (solar and wind) coming into the energy markets. We’re in the middle of a major transition and many people don’t want that transition to occur, or they accept the reality of the transition and want to survive as long as possible. One last point: transitions can be messy. Many people, including Obama, are working hard to make that transition as smooth as possible.

          • rockyredneck

            Yes, the world cannot afford oil prices over 100.00 without serious consequences to oil consuming economies and the current low prices cause serious consequences to oil exporting countries. Note the recent devaluation of the Canadian dollar. Those prices are what caused the current slump by encouraging overproduction. The current slump will probably eventually cause the opposite reaction again with oil rising to unsustainable prices.
            I don’t believe alternative energy sources are having any significant effect on oil prices, but there is considerable upset happening to coal and electricity markets.
            Electricity for transportation could effect oil prices but probably not before oil reaches unsustainable prices again. Conventional or cheap oil will likely be gone long before the transition can take effect.

    • Bob Fearn

      We will not see the global emissions of CO2 drop until the billionaires start losing their waterfront mansions.

  • onesecond

    I think I read somewhere, that even in Canada the renewable energy industry employs more people than the oil and gas industry.

    • Martin

      Yes you are correct, even before all the lay offs in the oil and gas sector, clean energy jobs (direct ones) were higher by about 10.000 jobs.
      Now currently the pendulum is swinging even more in favor of RE/clean energy jobs.

      • Waiting to be bribed

        I believe that report said that renewable energy employed more people than the oil sands, not the entire oil industry.

        • rockyredneck

          I have not seen that report but am interested in who the authors are and their accounting methods.

      • rockyredneck

        More weird accounting? I live in Canada and could list a hundred people who work for the oil industry. I have yet to meet one who works in alternatives unless you count the car salesman who sold 1% electrics. I am sorry, The clean energy sector is up and coming, but it has nowhere near the impact of traditional energy sources.

        • sault

          Argument from anecdote is a logical fallacy.

          • rockyredneck

            Observation is more reliable than unsupported evidence or doubtful quotes.

          • Tim

            Let me guess: you don’t have a college education. Anecdote: I know this redneck who is an idiot; therefore all rednecks are idiots.

          • rockyredneck

            Let me guess, You are still in college and I would bet that my education is much broader and more comprehensive than yours.

          • Tim

            Not likely. I’m 50, have an advanced degree in Electrical Engineering, several patents, and knew more than you by the time I was in 4th grade based upon the bad science you have already spewed today. You need remedial help.

          • rockyredneck

            You have no idea what I know. It has been established that we are both poor guessers. Meaning that your predictions for the future are no better than mine and your education holds no more value.

          • Tim

            Well, from your comments we know you don’t believe in climate science and you didn’t retain even the basics from a class on logic, if you ever had one. Anymore of your anecdotal observations you want to purport as fact? (You know, cause you saw them.)

            I’m guessing you’re just a moron with a keyboard. (Hey, Bob, can I say moron?)

          • rockyredneck

            I believe in science but it is not my religion. The one thing most scientists have in common (and it is not their opinions) is that most are eventually proven wrong or their theories were insufficient. Blindly following consensus without questioning borders on stupidity. Any perceived consensus is within a very narrow range.
            Feel free to call me a moron. It is the usual reaction of someone who is losing the argument and does not indicate intelligence on your part. If you did not have doubts yourself you would probably ignore me and only converse with those that agree with you. Your missionary zeal is only likely to work on the totally ignorant.

          • rockyredneck

            BTW, it has been fun but I am going to get on with my life now.

          • Bob_Wallace

            One does not “believe” in science. Science is not faith based.

            Science is a system for finding the most probable answers to questions. I think it extremely unlikely “most (scientists) are eventually proven wrong”.

            What generally happens in science is that no single experiment entirely answers the ‘big question’. Over time pieces of the puzzle are found and over time put together to arrive at the ‘big answer’.

            At this point we don’t know everything about climate change. If we did then we would have a single climate change theory and it would accurately predict the future. But we have enough of the pieces to see the ‘big picture’. We know what is happening and where things are going to go based on what we do next.

            Tie some concrete blocks on your leg and jump into deep water. Science can tell you that you will drown and how that drowning will occur. It cannot, at this time, predict how many seconds you will last.

          • rockyredneck

            A man has to believe in something, I believe I will have another glass of wine.
            Arguing semantics is a waste of time.
            I would argue that we know practically nothing about climate change and even less about possible results. Certainly not enough to take drastic actions but probably enough to proceed with caution.
            I have been told to “go jump in the lake” before but never quite as elegantly as you just did. I just might use that one in the future myself.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Who’s the “we” that know practically nothing about climate change, Rock? Got a rat in your pocket?

            Your claim reeks of massive ignorance on your part.

            (Sorry, I depleted my eloquence supply earlier.)

          • rockyredneck

            Here is a direct quote from Calspace –“So many processes have to be considered in the carbon
            cycle that it is extremely difficult to keep them in mind, and
            impossible to calculate without building a computer model to simulate
            them. Scientists interested in the carbon cycle
            have built a number of such models over the years. Such models can have
            between 50 and 100 interacting equations describing all the different
            processes of the carbon cycle that are relevant to the problem of how
            carbon dioxide changes through geologic time.

            To what extent should the answers generated from such models be trusted?
            All one can say is this: Models are the best we can do, everything
            else is ballpark back-of the envelope stuff. This means we should use
            models to educate ourselves about possibilities, realizing that their
            output produces probabilities not measurements.”
            I believe these are probably credible scientists.
            https://getpocket.com/redirect?url=http%3A%2F%2Fearthguide.ucsd.edu%2Fvirtualmuseum%2Fclimatechange2%2F07_1.shtml

          • rockyredneck
          • Bob_Wallace

            That quote does not mean what you seem to think it means….

          • Bob_Wallace

            No you can’t.

        • Bob Fearn

          No one is saying that many people do not work in the oil industry. What many of us are saying is that this is a mistake and needs to change, quickly. You may be more interested in working for the oil industry than a vibrant renewable industry however 100% of the peer-reviewed climate scientists have told us that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet. Robbing your grandchildren of a reasonable future seems illogical.

          • rockyredneck

            You are putting a lot of faith in your pessimistic outlook. If I thought the future looked that bad, I would endeavor not to have any offspring to suffer it.

  • JamesWimberley

    I wish the IMF luck with their ambitious attempt to redefine “subsidy” to include uncovered social costs, but I doubt if it is going to work. The external climate costs are of course mainly borne by non-Canadians. More important politically, the $44 billion external costs are not government expenditure, and can’t be treated as available automatically for new public spending. The health costs are almost all domestic, and in a single-payer health system like Canada’s savings will reduce public expenditure. It would be nice to see a less radical accounting.

    • Freddy D

      I agree. While these “soft” subsidies may be arguably very real, it’s very difficult to reach agreement between anybody on what’s in, what’s out, how much is it, etc. Unfortunately this can be divisive.

      Whereas articles with headlines like “solar and wind is now cheaper than coal power” tend to bring everyone together in solving the problem because there’s a win-win situation.

    • Ross

      Even a revenue neutral carbon tax equal to a small fraction of the proportion of external costs that are attributable to the savings made in Canada would be a big catalyst in the right direction.

      • Mint

        The Liberal party tried offering that in a campaign (lower income taxes in exchange for a carbon tax), and even though it resulted in more than half of people paying less tax overall, it was a political disaster. I think it was the worst showing for the party in history.

        Canadians like to think of themselves as being environmentally responsible, but we really aren’t.

        • rockyredneck

          Compared to whom?

          • Bob Fearn

            Compared to almost anyone! You cannot produce more carbon per person than almost any other country and still call yourself “environmentally responsible”.

          • rockyredneck

            We produce less CO2 emissions per capita than the U.S. in spite of having a much colder climate and vast distances for transportation.
            Since when did the consumers not have a responsibility for emissions.
            Many countries produce far more fossil fuels than Canada on a per capita basis including Norway and most ME countries. Canada also produces much more responsibly than jurisdictions such as Venezuela and Russia.
            Canada is an easy target. We don’t jail or behead people just because they disagree with us. In fact we are even ridiculously easy on those that break the law to show their disagreement.

          • Bob Fearn

            Wrong. Figures lie and liers figure. The former conservative environment minister told us that Canada had such a low carbon out put because of all the “clean” hydro energy we produce. The huge amount of carbon associated with building a large hydro project and the carbon emitted during operation have been ignored. The carbon from the vegetation flooded by the dams is also ignored. Alberta has a well deserved reputation for BS’ing us regarding tar sands emissions. Are you really suggesting that governments that is heavily involved in the production of dirty oil are going to tell us the truth?
            The stats tell us that Canada and the US have similiar CO2 producers per capita but that was in 2014. Since then ours has gone up and theirs has gone down. In any case we should not accept being one of the worst polluters in the world when we have a choice. A choice that is less possible with oil industry supporters.

          • rockyredneck

            And just who am I to believe? You obviously have an agenda that makes your statements suspect as well. There are a few other countries with higher per capita emissions and yes they are 2014 figures.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions
            What makes you think the U.S is going down while ours is going up. Their economy is fast expanding while ours is slowing. I don’t think your statement is consistent with this fact.
            Finally you are equating CO2 with pollution in general. Although CO2 may affect climate, it is not a pollutant.

          • Bob Fearn

            “MAY affect climate.” Can destroy life as we know it and you want to argue if it is a “pollutant”.
            Do some homework.

          • rockyredneck

            You are brainwashed.

          • Tim

            Pollutant: A substance or condition that contaminates air, water, or soil. Pollutants
            can be artificial substances, such as pesticides and PCBs, or naturally
            occurring substances, such as oil or carbon dioxide, that occur in
            harmful concentrations in a given environment.

            rockyredneck, you are penalized 15 yards on that play. Care to replay the down?

          • rockyredneck

            It is yet to be seen if CO2 is actually harmful. The Climate is warming and CO2 is increasing but no one has proved cause and effect. Perhaps we will know a little more in a couple of hundred years. So far any observed changes resulting from CO2 increases are largely in the observers imagination or have actually been positive. There is no doubt humanity is having some effect on climate, but fixating on CO2 ignores all the other possibilities. Reducing the reliance on fossil fuels is becoming a necessity for many reasons but thinking we can do without them in the near future is akin to burying your head in the sand. It is next to impossible to even build a windmill or a solar farm without resorting to fossil fuel. Sourcing food that you do not grow in your garden or consumer goods that are not produced by hand next door is even harder. In fact if you grow a garden you likely resort to using a gas powered tiller.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” The Climate is warming and CO2 is increasing but no one has proved cause and effect.”

            Over 100 years ago if was proven that CO2 blocks the transmission of heat. Cause and effect was settled over a century ago.

            We have more than adequate data showing that atmospheric CO2 has been rising. We can determine from the isotopic form of the H2 that the excess H2 comes from humans burning fossil fuels.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” There is no doubt humanity is having some effect on climate, but fixating on CO2 ignores all the other possibilities. ”

            The other greenhouse gases are not being ignored. CO2 is the main contributor to global warming.

          • rockyredneck

            Not water vapour?

          • Hans

            That is a very old canard.
            Water vapour is indeed a very powerful greenhouse gas. But, the amount of water vapour depends on the temperature. The higher the temperature, the more water vapour. Water vapour thus works like a lever that multiplies the effect of other greenhouse gasses.

            So it seems that your “years of research” have not even learned you the most basic knowledge about climate change.

          • rockyredneck

            Hans, Hans, Hans, do you expect me to be impressed by your use of the very obvious to counter my statement? When did I ever contradict the statement you just made. There is no one factor related to climate change that is independent of the others. Ignoring that fact is what makes much of the discussion here totally irrelevant.
            Trying to allocate blame or villianizing one segment of our society is not only wrong but counter productive. What point can there possibly be in creating enemies or destroying wealth when those resources could be used to affect change.
            The blame for CC can be laid only in one place, the rapidly increasing population of the planet and the overuse of it’s resources.
            Of course some people (particularly those in rich countries) use much more than others, but none of us are without blame. It is,however, going to be very hard to convince anyone (rich or poor) to lower their standard of living or to quit striving for a better life.
            Yes, reducing fossil fuel use would be be helpful but it is highly unlikely it can be done in time to avoid the worst effects of CC. A much better approach is to reduce the effects of CO2 emissions. Nature does half the job for us already by carbon uptake through plants.
            The much maligned carbon capture technology and methods to remove CO2 from the air deserve much more attention. They have the added advantage of being quickly reversible if something like increased volcanism should cause unexpected cooling.
            Reducing deforestation and reforestation are essential and undervalued methods. We need to end our love affair with lawns and pavement.
            I think the main point here is that any remediation method attempted must not be too big a threat to any significant segment of the economy or to any significant group of people. Accomplishing that is not easy, but since climate change is likely to have widely different consequences for different groups of people the alternative is conflict. If that becomes armed conflict, the consequences to mankind may be much worse than what global warming could throw at us.

          • Hans

            Sigh, your previous remark implies that you think water vapour is a driver of climate change, whereas in reality it is a positive feedback.

            By the way you seem to be quite inconsistent in your assessment of climate change in your different comments.

            Change will always upset vested interests, nothing to do about that. Gutenburg did not consider the people who copied books by hand, Henry Ford did not consider horse breeders, e-commerce did not consider the feelings of brick and mortar shop owner, either you embrace the new technologies or your loose out.

            Any disruptive technology destroys wealth, but creates greater wealth in return.

            Renewable energy technology and other clean technologies are developing and coming down in price fast. To paraphrase GWB: I think you misunderestimate them.

            Carbon capture is still very expensive and costs quite a bit of energy. It might be useful for the steel and cement industry, but the application for the power sector is just to expensive, it is not competitive with renewables.

            Reforestation is a good idea for several reasons, But it is not enough.

            People with a financial interest in fossil fuels will never agree that it is better to stop using them. We do not have an eternity too wait. Climate change is real, extremely dangerous and extremely urgent.

          • rockyredneck

            I think you have a problem understanding what you read. You love to put your own interpretations on everything. There, I am doing the same as you and judging you from a few comments. Perhaps I should start insulting you, and calling you names. The tendency to attack the messenger instead of the message is pretty common on these threads.

            Of course I am a little inconsistent. I am not as cocksure as most here seem to be and am not about to make certain judgements based on uncertainties.

            There is nothing wrong with change, unless you happen to be one of the ones hurt by it. By your reasoning I should simply sit on my high prairie property and laugh at those of you being drowned by rising sea levels.

            Henry Ford was only concerned with building his cars. He did not go out of his way to shoot horses or destroy carriages. He simply provided a better alternative. That same alternative is still the best there is, until others are developed far enough to replace it.

            “Any disruptive technology destroys wealth, but creates greater wealth in return.”

            Well of course, but then war can destroy one group while making another wealthier. Do you think that is the best way to do things.

            Your willingness to discount my suggestions shows your bias towards your own high tech solutions, that are perhaps not possible for much of the world. They may have to resort to their ‘horse and buggies’ for quite some time yet
            .
            Your last statement is simply arrogant as well as structurally incorrect.. That climate change is real is of course true, but the rest of your statement is opinion and does not belong in the same sentence.
            Climate change is inevitable and not necessarily dangerous. It could be beneficial to many in many cases. Global warming (note the difference) may be dangerous.The question is to whom?We may be changing the climate but the urgency (if there is any) would be in stopping change, or more specifically, in slowing the warming trend.

            You know, I presume, that we referred to the problem as global warming in the past. A little warming does not seem too serious to most people and, to us in the North, it would actually be quite welcome. What was needed was a little spin doctoring and the perfect phrase came out. Who isn’t, at least a little, afraid of change

            You do, I presume see the similarities, with the terms oil sand and tar sands. Tar is yucky sticky stuff, but you cook your french fries in oil.

          • rockyredneck

            I agree with all you said but it does not establish a connection to global warming. There is no long term clear correlation, nor is there any direct observation of a connection. Because there is a possibility it could cause some warming, it does not support a conclusion that it does or will.
            There you go, using the word settled again. You are reading into experimental results and data what you wish to see. Are you certain you have no doubts?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “There you go, using the word settled again. You are reading into experimental results and data what you wish to see. Are you certain you have no doubts?”

            The issue is settled for climate scientists.

          • rockyredneck

            You really do think you are qualified to speak for all climate scientists?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’m not speaking for climate scientists. I’m listening to what climate scientists and scientific organization are saying.

            Here’s a partial list of scientific organization that hold the position that climate changed has been caused by human action.

            Academia Chilena de Ciencias, Chile

            Academia das Ciencias de Lisboa, Portugal

            Academia de Ciencias de la República Dominicana

            Academia de Ciencias Físicas, Matemáticas y Naturales de Venezuela

            Academia de Ciencias Medicas, Fisicas y Naturales de Guatemala

            Academia Mexicana de Ciencias,Mexico

            Academia Nacional de Ciencias de Bolivia

            Academia Nacional de Ciencias del Peru

            Académie des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal

            Académie des Sciences, France

            Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada

            Academy of Athens

            Academy of Science of Mozambique

            Academy of Science of South Africa

            Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)

            Academy of Sciences Malaysia

            Academy of Sciences of Moldova

            Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

            Academy of Sciences of the Islamic Republic of Iran

            Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, Egypt

            Academy of the Royal Society of New Zealand

            Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy

            Africa Centre for Climate and Earth Systems Science

            African Academy of Sciences

            Albanian Academy of Sciences

            Amazon Environmental Research Institute

            American Academy of Pediatrics

            American Anthropological Association

            American Association for the Advancement of Science

            American Association of State Climatologists (AASC)

            American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians

            American Astronomical Society

            American Chemical Society

            American College of Preventive Medicine

            American Fisheries Society

            American Geophysical Union

            American Institute of Biological Sciences

            American Institute of Physics

            American Meteorological Society

            American Physical Society

            American Public Health Association

            American Quaternary Association

            American Society for Microbiology

            American Society of Agronomy

            American Society of Civil Engineers

            American Society of Plant Biologists

            American Statistical Association

            Association of Ecosystem Research Centers

            Australian Academy of Science

            Australian Bureau of Meteorology

            Australian Coral Reef Society

            Australian Institute of Marine Science

            Australian Institute of Physics

            Australian Marine Sciences Association

            Australian Medical Association

            Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

            Bangladesh Academy of Sciences

            Botanical Society of America

            Brazilian Academy of Sciences

            British Antarctic Survey

            Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

            California Academy of Sciences

            Cameroon Academy of Sciences

            Canadian Association of Physicists

            Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences

            Canadian Geophysical Union

            Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

            Canadian Society of Soil Science

            Canadian Society of Zoologists

            Caribbean Academy of Sciences views

            Center for International Forestry Research

            Chinese Academy of Sciences

            Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences

            Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) (Australia)

            Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research

            Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences

            Crop Science Society of America

            Cuban Academy of Sciences

            Delegation of the Finnish Academies of Science and Letters

            Ecological Society of America

            Ecological Society of Australia

            Environmental Protection Agency

            European Academy of Sciences and Arts

            European Federation of Geologists

            European Geosciences Union

            European Physical Society

            European Science Foundation

            Federation of American Scientists

            French Academy of Sciences

            Geological Society of America

            Geological Society of Australia

            Geological Society of London

            Georgian Academy of Sciences

            German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina

            Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences

            Indian National Science Academy

            Indonesian Academy of Sciences

            Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management

            Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology

            Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand

            Institution of Mechanical Engineers, UK

            InterAcademy Council

            International Alliance of Research Universities

            International Arctic Science Committee

            International Association for Great Lakes Research

            International Council for Science

            International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences

            International Research Institute for Climate and Society

            International Union for Quaternary Research

            International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics

            International Union of Pure and Applied Physics

            Islamic World Academy of Sciences

            Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities

            Kenya National Academy of Sciences

            Korean Academy of Science and Technology

            Kosovo Academy of Sciences and Arts

            l’Académie des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal

            Latin American Academy of Sciences

            Latvian Academy of Sciences

            Lithuanian Academy of Sciences

            Madagascar National Academy of Arts, Letters, and Sciences

            Mauritius Academy of Science and Technology

            Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts

            National Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, Argentina

            National Academy of Sciences of Armenia

            National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic

            National Academy of Sciences, Sri Lanka

            National Academy of Sciences, United States of America

            National Aeronautics and Space Administration

            National Association of Geoscience Teachers

            National Association of State Foresters

            National Center for Atmospheric Research

            National Council of Engineers Australia

            National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research, New Zealand

            National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

            National Research Council

            National Science Foundation

            Natural England

            Natural Environment Research Council, UK

            Natural Science Collections Alliance

            Network of African Science Academies

            New York Academy of Sciences

            Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences

            Nigerian Academy of Sciences

            Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters

            Oklahoma Climatological Survey

            Organization of Biological Field Stations

            Pakistan Academy of Sciences

            Palestine Academy for Science and Technology

            Pew Center on Global Climate Change

            Polish Academy of Sciences

            Romanian Academy

            Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium

            Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Spain

            Royal Astronomical Society, UK

            Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters

            Royal Irish Academy

            Royal Meteorological Society (UK)

            Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

            Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

            Royal Scientific Society of Jordan

            Royal Society of Canada

            Royal Society of Chemistry, UK

            Royal Society of the United Kingdom

            Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

            Russian Academy of Sciences

            Science and Technology, Australia

            Science Council of Japan

            Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

            Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics

            Scripps Institution of Oceanography

            Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

            Slovak Academy of Sciences

            Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts

            Society for Ecological Restoration International

            Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics

            Society of American Foresters

            Society of Biology (UK)

            Society of Biology, UK

            Society of Systematic Biologists

            Soil Science Society of America

            Sudan Academy of Sciences

            Sudanese National Academy of Science

            Tanzania Academy of Sciences

            The Wildlife Society (international)

            Turkish Academy of Sciences

            Uganda National Academy of Sciences

            Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

            United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

            University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

            Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

            World Association of Zoos and Aquariums

            World Federation of Public Health Associations

            World Forestry Congress

            World Health Organization

            World Meteorological Organization

            Zambia Academy of Sciences

            Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences

            And here are a few particulars…

            Joint statement on climate change from 18 US scientific associations:

            “Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.” (2009)

            American Association for the Advancement of Science

            “The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.” (2006)

            American Chemical Society

            “Comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem.” (2004)

            American Geophysical Union

            “The Earth’s climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system — including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons — are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.” (Adopted 2003, revised and reaffirmed 2007)

            American Medical Association

            “Our AMA … supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment report and concurs with the scientific consensus that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that anthropogenic contributions are significant.” (2013)

            American Meteorological Society

            “It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide.” (2012)

            American Physical Society

            “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.” (2007)

            The Geological Society of America

            “The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhouse‐gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s.” (2006; revised 2010)

            U.S. National Academy of Sciences

            “The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify taking steps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.” (2005)

            U.S. Global Change Research Program

            “The global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases. Human ‘fingerprints’ also have been identified in many other aspects of the climate system, including changes in ocean heat content, precipitation, atmospheric moisture, and Arctic sea ice.” (2009, 13 U.S. government departments and agencies)

          • Bob_Wallace

            2014 – US 16.5 and Canada 15.9 tonnes per capita

            Globally the US is #3 and Canada #4.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_carbon_dioxide_emissions

            Canada has little to brag about. Being a bit better than the US is not good enough.

          • rockyredneck

            You have great ability to misunderstand me, Bob. I never implied that Canada was in a bragging position but Canadians certainly do not deserve to be dumped on by others. Americans are great people but collectively they sometimes act like the school yard bully.
            Do you truly believe that greenhouse gases are the only factor influencing climate?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “We produce less CO2 emissions per capita than the U.S. in spite of having a much colder climate and vast distances for transportation.

            Many countries produce far more fossil fuels than Canada on a per capita basis including Norway and most ME countries.”

            Many, in 2014, was three. Three does not meet most people’s definition of “many”.

            “Do you truly believe that greenhouse gases are the only factor influencing climate?”

            Not at all. As we’ve warmed the climate we have melted a large portion of year round ice and snow and decreased the Earth’s albedo. Less light is being reflected out, more converted to heat and a portion of that heat is being trapped by GHGs.

            Why don’t you take a few hours and learn about climate change? You aren’t a dumb guy like most of the deniers. The science is not all that hard to understand if you start at a basic level and work your way in.

          • rockyredneck

            Really, Bob, I have been studying this subject intensely for many years. It is just that I have reached different conclusions than you about the reliability of the science.

          • Hans

            you mean you read a lot of wingnut websites?

          • rockyredneck

            Yes I read this one daily.

      • rockyredneck

        And why is Canada singled out when Americans refuse to accept higher gasoline taxes?

        • sault

          2 wrongs don’t make a right.

          • Tim

            We Americans are terrible people. rockyredneck’s point wins, because USA is #1 in the total pollution game, whereas Canada is way, way down the list.

          • rockyredneck

            I am curious,Tim, have you ever visited Canada. I have visited The U.S. many times as have most Canadians. I find the people great. It is the politics that are screwed.

          • Tim

            Yes I’ve been to Canada many times. There is something that trumps being nice to other people and that is electing officials to lead the world to the brink of destruction. I have watched it all my life. Reagan was the start of this incredible evil on our part. “Ketchup is a vegetable.” “Trees cause pollution.” He was a bad man and yet we doubled down on anti-science leaders. Sure, the rest of the world also needs to help fix the problem of over-carbonization, but we profited the most and we led the planet towards its destruction more than any other. It’s on us as in the US. Perhaps you’re too young to have paid attention all those years.

            And no, we can’t just say oh well it’s our leaders when we live in a democracy. Up until Nixon and Carter, we were doing a good job figuring this out. Then we elected entire congresses that failed to do less about the issue than any country of comparative responsibility. Now you have been schooled

          • rockyredneck

            No I am not too young. I was there for the JFK years and before.

          • rockyredneck

            I had never heard your Reagan quotes before. One was intriguing enough that I had to search it down. The full quote was apparently “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.” I can’t believe that many Americans actually took that seriously, but it is a hilarious bit of American history. Thanks for the reference.

          • Tim

            You’re quite welcome. I think what happened is that ole Ronny boy got the O2 – CO2 cycle backwards on trees and thought trees gave off CO2. I’ve always wondered about his thought process. It could have been just slash and burn carbon too. Oh well. Nancy was a famous follower of Astrology so there wasn’t a lot of there there as the saying goes.

    • eveee

      There are practically no subsidies that are outlays from the government. They are almost all exclusively debts that are waived.

      If a government ceases all sales tax or other taxes for a business, there is no outlay from the government. Yet its still a subsidy. Why? Because taxes are used to pay for infrastructure and benefits that are supposed to be for the common good. But if one player doesn’t pay, everyone else has to pick up the tab. When an industry pollutes, and doesn’t pay to fix it, we all pay for it instead of them. And they are incentivized to do it more because it now pays for them. Such is our screwed up system that economists pardon this sin, calling it an “externality”,

    • rockyredneck

      It is a pretty ridiculous method of accounting. There is an external cost for every action taken by every organism.
      The only way an accounting of these costs can make sense is with a balance sheet. In other words, is it worth the calories burned in walking to the fridge to get a snack.
      Other industries have external costs as well and most do not give the returns to society that the energy industry does.
      Things can be improved, but killing the goose that lays the golden eggs makes no sense until suitable replacements are up and running.

      • sault

        Suitable replacements have been delayed by decades precisely because the polluting incumbent industries were so heavily-subsidized. The polluters were also able to sell their products for an artificially low price because the costs of environmental destruction and human health damage were offloaded onto society as a whole. Of course, we would need to phase these costs in, but the environmental and human health damages run into the tens of billions per year precisely because we failed to incorporate these costs in the past.

        • rockyredneck

          It is the consumer that all subsidies are eventually accrued to, and it is consumer demand that drives investment in any industry. Nothing will change until you and everyone else stops buying what is being produced.
          What kind of action do you expect when no government has even had the courage to outlaw tobacco. Not that it would work anyway. Note the success of prohibition or the war on drugs.

          • sault

            Do you not understand that subsidies tilt the market in favor of their beneficiaries? The artificially low price of oil and motor fuel for decades has caused alternatives to be held back plain and simple.

          • rockyredneck

            do you not understand that we are talking mostly about externalities, which have no direct effect on markets and affect everyone more or less equally.

          • sault

            Do you not understand that failing to incorporate extarnalities into the market price of fossil fuels makes them artificially cheap, distorting the market and causing sub-optimal market operation? Do you not understand that this causes preventable human misery and death all in the name of allowing fossil fuels to maintain their unfair market share? Do you not understand that this is the biggest example of the government “picking winners” and making its citizens pay the cost for their corrupt decision-making?

          • rockyredneck

            Hmm, lets not forget the external costs from agriculture, cities (especially cities), fishing, timber harvesting, manufacturing and the list goes on and on. Many of them make fossil fuels look positively benign. Think about it for a while. Set aside your biases and you may realize that the externalities you are so anxious to set a price on are merely the result of any and all human activity. I know it is tempting to charge it all to one industry that is currently in disfavor with climate alarmists but it is an extremely naive point of view. The only way to stop the external costs from human activity would be to force our extinction. Reducing the population of the earth could help but who is volunteering to go first?

          • Hans

            You really need an economics class. Accounting for externalities does not mean all economic activity must end, it just means that negative side effects are being taken into account in the economic process. This in turn means that society as a whole will get a better result.

          • rockyredneck

            Good point, now tell me all about the economic activity that does not have negative side effects.

          • Hans

            Everybody hurts someone else sometimes. So it is OK to beat somebody up?

          • sault

            People can’t choose to not eat. Agreed though, agriculture needs to clean up its mess as well. Lowering the severity of the Mississippi River “Dead Zone” would gin up a lot more fishery production in the area than currently. Toxic runoff from factory farms causes a lot of health problems and property damage along with the climate change damages from methane, NOx and CO2 emissions too.

            And a lot of the negative externalities fisheries, logging, cities, etc cause are a symptom of our failure to incorporate the true cost of activities into the price of the products / services that come from these activities. We’re basically allowing polluting & destructive activities to get away with harming people and our environment while the benefits of cleaner alternatives aren’t valued as highly as they should. We’re short-changing our health, our environment and the prosperity of future generations all in order to make a quick buck today.

            You are raising a straw man argument when you say the only way to stop externalities is to go extinct. And I never said that we should stop all externalities anyway, so you’re putting words into my mouth too. Just put a price or proper regulation on the causes of the externalities and human ingenuity can solve the problem. We need to stop subsidizing our problems and allow people to come up with the best solution to solve them when all costs are considered.

            Question: Do you accept or deny the science behind climate change and if so, what pace of CO2 emissions reduction would work for you? (80% by 2050?)

          • rockyredneck

            Your question is a little too definitive but, I will attempt an answer.

            I think climate change is definitely happening and accelerating as a result of human activities. I don’t think many of the extreme consequences predicted are very likely in the short term but could be in terms of thousands of years.
            The science– much is very good, but a lot of the stuff that is disseminated to the public is suspect and caters to the media addiction to sensationalism.
            Not an adequate answer but read my answer to Hans later in this comment section to get a better feel for my point of view.

          • Hans

            Funny without knowing it you support the case for integrating externalities into the price of products.

            Yes the whole of society, and future generation, suffer from pollution. Yet this damage is not considered in the economic decision making process. There are two solutions:

            1) solve outside economics by regulating emissions
            2) solve it within economics by integrating the external costs into the price.

            You however seem to prefer:
            3) I don’t want to know about the problem. So nothing should be done.

          • rockyredneck

            You seem to draw a lot of conclusions without thought, especially about what I prefer.
            You seem to think there are clear workable choices or solutions. The question is, for whom.
            Okay, I am making the same assumptions about your preference, based in insufficient information.

          • rockyredneck

            I think, if you really consider it, there were no practical alternatives. There still are not many, but I can see them coming as the cost of overuse of resources is realized. You cannot expect a problem to be resolved without a full understanding that there is one.

      • Bob Fearn

        “the goose that lays the golden eggs” Are you referring to the trillions of dollars that will be required to ATTEMPT to deal with climate change? Or maybe you are referring to the millions that already die prematurely due to fossil fuel use? Or perhaps the degradation of our air, land and even under land that is an everyday contribution from the fossil fuel gangs?
        We have a free nuclear fusion plant that can provide us with all the energy we need. Using fossil fuels is simply primitive thinking!

        • rockyredneck

          Referring to your last statement It is a fine dream you have, but we are far from being there yet. What do you propose in the meantime.
          Your fossil fuel gangs include everyone who uses fossil fuel. I doubt that you are blameless. I would think the producers deserve the least of the blame.

      • Hans

        You use a switch and bait technique by equating energy industry to fossil fuel energy industry. The benefits to society are the same no matter what the source of your energy. By making polluters pay for the damage they do (I would say a very reasonable policy), less polluting technologies will drive out the more polluting technologies.

        • rockyredneck

          And I suppose you know exactly who is to be the judge.

          • Hans

            If external costs are taken into account markets will be the judge.

  • crevasse

    These types of subsidies are ridiculous. The vast majority of people probably think they’re getting something “free” from their government. If they get a 50 cent subsidy, they should realize it costs 50 cents plus government administration costs on top of the 50 cents. And that 50+ cents comes from one source and one source only: TAXES. Governments don’t make money, they only spend it. In a time when everyone wants less government, taxes ,etc., these types of 3 card Monty should be at the top of lists to eliminate. Subsidies cost more than they “save”.

    • sault

      The sneaky way the polluters get away with these subsidies is because the costs accrue to other people and are tabulated on another ledger. The damage to people’s health due to pollution shows up as healthcare spending, lower worker productivity and premature death, adding costs and sapping tax revenue. The environmental destruction results in less tourism, reduced fishery and logging output and the myriad ways climate change damages property and disrupts economic activity.

      On top of all this, if a government is running a deficit, then the interest on the debt stacked up from dealing with pollution increases the total bill for these subsidies even more.

    • Radical Ignorant

      The truth is that government does make money. Or at least if the have independent currency and government controls it’s creation.
      But that’s complicated. Anyway this money could be used on something smarter.

  • jburt56

    Enough to install about 20 GW of solar farms.

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