Earth Track Document

Effect of government subsidies for upstream oil infrastructure on U.S. oil production and global CO2 emissions

The United States now produces as much crude oil as ever – over 3.4 billion barrels in 2015, just shy of the 3.5 billion record set in 1970. Indeed, the U.S. has become the world’s No. 1 oil and gas producer. The oil production boom has been aided by tax provisions and other subsidies that support private investment in infrastructure for oil exploration and development. Federal tax preferences, for example, enable oil and gas producers to deduct capital expenditures faster, or at greater levels, than standard tax accounting rules typically allow, boosting investment returns.

EIA Energy Subsidy Estimates: A Review of Assumptions and Omissions

This Review provides the most detailed look to date at gaps in federal tracking of energy subsidies.  In addition to evaluating the research approach used by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the Review assesses how key assumptions and omissions in EIA's work resulted in a substantial undercounting of federal energy subsidies and an inaccurate portrayal of subsidy distribution across fuels.  EIA estimates are also placed in the context of other assessments of domestic energy subsidies conducted over the past thirty years.

Effect of subsidies and regulatory exemptions on 2020–2030 oil and gas production and profits in the United States

The United States has supported the development of its oil and gas industry since the early twentieth century. Despite repeated pledges to phase out 'inefficient' fossil fuel subsidies, US oil and gas production continues to be subsidized by billions of dollars each year. In this study, we quantify how 16 subsidies and regulatory exemptions individually and altogether affect the economics of US oil and gas production in 2020–2030 under different price and financial risk outlooks.

Investment Disclosures by Asset Class: Current Practice at Harvard Compared to Other Large Funds

Harvard has the largest university endowment in the world.  Its investments are run by the affiliated Harvard Management Company (HMC), which operates under the Treasurer of the University and the Harvard Corporation.  The University has committed that the endowment will be net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  The stature of both the University and its endowment mean that real innovations in investment tracking, measurement, and selection would have enormous ripple effects across many other large investors.  At present, however, there have been no interim milestones publicly announce

Decarbonizing Harvard’s Endowment : Reviewing Harvard Management Company’s First Climate Report

Harvard Management Company (HMC), which manages Harvard University’s nearly $42 billion endowment, released its first Climate Report in February 2021.  As the largest university endowment in the world, decisions Harvard makes to tangibly and materially reduce the climate impact of its investments will garner significant attention around the world and provide space for many other institutions to make similar moves.  Further, the school has the scale and the stature to coordinate with other institutional investors and accelerate the pace of financial innovation across asset classes t

Fossil-Fuel Subsidies Must End: Despite claims to the contrary, eliminating them would have a significant effect in addressing the climate crisis

When it comes to tackling the climate crisis, ending $400 billion of annual subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry worldwide seems like a no-brainer. For the past decade, world leaders have been resolving and reaffirming the need to phase them out.

Review of Proposed ‘‘Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’’ or the ‘‘CARES Act’’

In an effort to response to the widespread health and economic issues associated with the coronavirus pandemic, Congress has been working on legislative responses.  This is the second major stimulus bill, an initiative led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  The bill provides roughly $1 trillion in economic stimulus; more once tax impacts are included.

The attached document contains comments on particular provisions, as input to the process of improving the targeting and efficiency of the bill.

Why fossil fuel producer subsidies matter

This article in Nature explains how subsidies affect fossil fuel investment and why they deserve greater attention in global modelling analyses.

It responds to a 2018 study in Nature that used the results of integrated assessment models to infer that eliminating subsidies would yield “limited emission reductions…except in energy-exporting regions”, and described the emission reduction benefits as “small”.

Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Harvard’s Endowment: A Review of Information Gaps and Potential Leverage Points

This working paper identifies some of the major gaps in Harvard’s existing reporting on the climate impacts of its endowment; potential leverage points to address these gaps; and some next steps to develop solutions that protect investment flexibility for Harvard Management Company while greatly and rapidly improving transparency.  These improvements are ne