Free Enterprise for the Masses—Socialism for the Koch Brothers

koch_subsidiesIn February 2016, The Huffington Post accused the Koch bothers of a multimillion dollar plot against electric cars. Now the plot has surfaced. Desmog reports the public debut of the campaign to rebrand fossil fuels, Fueling U.S. Forward. The campaign was unveiled at the Red State Gathering 2016 on Saturday, August 13. The newly-selected CEO and President of this organization, Charles Drevna, named (Guess what) fossil fuels as the “source of sustainable energy to ensure the future of the country.”

Koch Brothers—mining to undermining

According to Desmog, Fueling U.S. Forward’s purpose is to rebrand fossil fuel by focusing on the “positive” side of oil, gas, and coal: And this organization is funded by the Koch brothers. The Kochs have a history of supporting campaigns to make Americans doubt the science of climate change and have actively worked to undermine government subsidies for renewable energy and electric vehicles as well as attacking clean energy policies.

People in glass houses ….

Inevitably, the founding meeting produced lots of complaints about Tesla Motor’s and other electric vehicles’ government subsidies. The participants seemed to have completely forgotten about all the subsidies and tax breaks the fossil fuel companies receive from U.S. governments. Are they feeling threatened by low oil prices and the rise of electric vehicles?

Koch Bothers love the poor

A Koch brothers’ tactic claims that non-support of oil when the prices are low is an attack on the poor at a time when the rich/poor divide is increasing. So here we have another example of the opponents of clean air policy (and thus renewables) hiding behind a concern for the poor. These are the same Koch bothers who back campaigns that oppose any increase in the minimum wage or call for its complete elimination.

And they love minorities

In his introductory address, Drevna in addition to complaining about the subsidies for renewables and electric vehicles, claimed that Fueling U.S. Forward would be partnering with minority communities (black and Latino Americans?) He made the case that these are the people who are hardest hit by high energy prices. He neglected to mention that these same minorities are usually the hardest hit by the climate catastrophes (think hurricane Katrina). Use the poor for your argument when it’s useful.

The Truth?—you can’t handle the Truth

To counter the Koch brother’s complaints about subsidies for electric cars, Green Car Report in its September 22 issue reports on a U.S China reciprocal peer review of their countries’ fossil-fuel subsidies. The review revealed that China and the U.S. combined subsidies for fossil fuels amount to around $20 billion per year—$8.1 billion for the U.S. and 14.5 for China.

Do we need inefficient subsidies?

The review identified 16 subsidies in the U.S. and 9 in China. The reasons given for the subsidies included exploration, development, and extraction of fossil fuels. The really sad part of this story is that the review labeled these subsidies inefficient. The only subsidy they described as efficient was the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Time proceeds

Actually, all of the G20 countries have agreed to remove their subsidies for fossil fuels, but the process is dragging, and the fossil fuel companies are fighting it. Meanwhile, climate change advances.

Does the Truth matter?

Apparently, the Koch brothers have a bit of money and they don’t mind spreading it around to buy all the influence they need. Who needs Truth when you can buy control of everything that you want or of anything that threatens you? That’s hard to fight—let’s hope they don’t win, because if they do—we lose.

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