Leave it to Google to put climate policy into its most elemental form: RE < C, Renewable Energy cheaper than Coal. That’s the goal, and we are getting closer every day, even though coal still receives huge direct and indirect subsidies.
Transport isn’t much different. There the equation is closer to RE < O, renewables cheaper than oil. Often it is BF < O, with biofuels as an imperfect stand-in.
Once again, subsidies are all around. The biggest one goes to oil and the fact that filling the atmosphere with carbon comes at zero cost to the one doing the pumping. In addition, oil gets billions in direct subsidies and tax breaks alike.
Then there’s corn ethanol. Corn subsidies come with their own kind of destructive baggage. Yet there’s seemingly no way of getting rid of them in between Iowa caucuses picking presidential candidates. Gore, Kerry, McCain, Obama and many many others have supported them, at least while running for office. Gore and McCain have since changed their minds, and the U.S. senate has managed to muster 73 votes to end subsidies altogether. All good news.
But the talk about corn can’t mask the fact that oil (and coal) subsidies are much more destructive to planet and budget alike. Perhaps there’s some good that could come out of our current fiscal crisis after all.