More than most mainstream publications, The Economist has regularly covered energy subsidies and consistently called for their elimination. Too many newspapers pick and choose which subsidies they care about. The Wall Street Journal, for example, rails on subsidies to renewables -- particularly wind and corn ethanol. But government largesse to fossil fuels and nuclear power always seems to be illusory figments of greenie imaginations. Midwest publications too often turn a blind eye on subsidies to ethanol or the corn (and water) that makes it.
The pace and scale of oil sands mining continues to increase in Alberta despite a poor understanding of the environmental liabilities: costs associated with the environmental impacts throughout the life of a mine. In Toxic Liability, the Pembina Institute has compiled the first public estimate of these liabilities.
Back in May, Earth Track teamed up with Oil Change International and NRDC to look at the tar sands exemption from tax used to finance the US' Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. We estimated that the exemption was worth nearly $400 million between 2010 and 2017, despite the fact that tar sands have higher expected spill liabilities than conventional crude. We concluded that the exemption made no logical sense, and should be repealed or replaced with a separate charge (potentially at a higher rate) on products. You can read our analysis
For the past decade imports of tar sands crude oil or bitumen have been increasing. Tar sands is stripmined and drilled in an energy‐and water‐intensive process from under the Boreal forests and wetlands of Alberta. In the process, Canada is destroying critical habitat while releasing three times the greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil production.
I guess if I'm to listen to Fareed Zakaria "The Case for Making it in the USA: Like it or not (and I don't) we need a manufacturing policy to stay competitive," subsidies up-and-down the Keystone XL pipeline should be viewed as just par for the course. Though Zakaria acknowledges the government isn't good at picking winners, he thinks that, overall, public funding of a portfolio of private companies is necessary for the country.