This report identifies billions of dollars in subsidies for fossil fuel exploration from the world's wealthiest countries. This government support for expanding oil, gas, and coal reserves continues despite a 2009 commitment by G20 countries to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, a pledge that has been repeatedly reiterated since then, including by G7 leaders in their June 2014 declaration.
oil and gas subsidies
From 2009 through 2013, large U.S.-based oil and gas companies paid far less in federal income taxes than the statutory rate of 35 percent. Thanks to a variety of special tax provisions, these companies were also able to defer payment of a significant portion of the federal taxes they accrued during this period.
The Joint Committee on Taxation of the US Congress has gradually posted many of its publications going back as early as 1926. Special tax rules for natural resources were a focus of JCT's attention even in its earliest days. By the mid-1920s, standard cost depletion had already been jettisoned for discovery value. Under cost depletion, taxpayers could write off what they'd invested in the mining property. Discovery value depletion introduced subsidization, as it allowed the write off of the value of minerals at the time of discovery, even if that value was more than the investm
New Earth Track analysis shines a light on fossil fuel subsidies through tax-exempt master limited partnerships (MLPs)
If a company or an industry is going to get subsidized, there are good ways and there are better ways for it to happen if one is sitting in the corporate suite. Among the best is to receive big subsidies that, while not flowing to your competitors, arrive in a form that nobody seems to notice. The benefits of this structure are clear: while the recipient gets a large slug of financial support, because few people see or understand the largesse, the political cost to both obtain and retain the subsidy is relatively low. Master Limited Partnerships, the subject of Earth Track's most recent
Special legislative provisions have allowed a select group of industries to operate as tax-favored publicly-traded partnerships (PTPs) more than 25 years after Congress stripped eligibility for most sectors of the economy. These firms, organized as Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs), are heavily concentrated in the oil and gas industry. Selective access to valuable tax preferences distorts energy markets and creates impediments for substitute, non-fossil, forms of power, heating, and transport fuels.
1) Poker, North Dakota style. Using a logic that only an industry trade association could understand, the US state of North Dakota has announced plans to close $50m/year in loopholes to oil and gas. Great! End subsidies that make no sense, such as lower taxes on low production "stripper" wells that have been exploited by nearby activities producing at much higher rates. But no reform is free, so the state officials are offering reduced tax rates on oil and gas in return. The rub: the reductions will cost the state an estimated
As a researcher, and a as co-director of watchdog group that have both worked to draw attention to the significant subsidies and tax breaks that are lavished on the fossil fuel industry, we are eager to see elected officials take notice of this waste of taxpayer money, especially as the President and Congress work to address the fiscal cliff disaster. That is why we are pleased that a member of Congress with an important platform has recently joined us in this conversation to review fossil fuels’ role in distorting the free market for energy.
In the movie Field of Dreams, actor Kevin Costner hears a voice in his head telling him "If you build it, he will come." The "it" is a baseball diamond in the middle of his corn field; the "he" is his dead father. Onlookers, of course, think he is crazy, which perhaps he is. But at least in the movie the costs to build and maintain the diamond were not paid by the government. If the idea was a bust, it was Costner's character, not taxpayers, footing the bill. And the environmental impacts? Immaterial.
For years, the International Energy Agency has been measuring subsidies to consumers by looking at the gap between world reference prices for a particular form of energy and what that energy sells for in a country's domestic market. The lower the cost to consumers relative to its world value, the higher the subsidy. Russia has always been among the top of this list: in the IEA's 2010 update, Russia came in third with just under $40 billion in consumer subsidies.
The value of the Russian government’s support to the upstream oil and gas activities is very significant. The subsidies to oil and gas producers in Russia that have been identified and quantified in this report amounted to 4.2 per cent and 6.0 per cent of the total value of oil and gas production in Russia in 2009 and 2010 respectively. These subsidies also amounted to 8.6 per cent and 14.4 per cent of the industry’s total tax and other payments to the federal government in 2009 and 2010 respectively.