COMMENT: What fossil fuel subsidies?

Matthew Sinclair writes for the Spectator's Coffee House blog on the campaign to end fossil fuel subsidies.

The environmental movement hasn’t responded well to the setbacks it has suffered seen since the failure of the Copenhagen climate conference.  The #endfossilfuelsubsidies campaign — trending worldwide on Twitter this morning — is the latest example of their descent.

To be clear, fossil fuel subsidies are not a good idea; that is why governments like ours don’t offer them. Fossil fuels are huge cash cows for every western government.  When someone fills up their car with petrol, around sixty per cent of the pump price goes to the Exchequer. When an oil company drills in the North Sea and extracts a barrel the amount that the Treasury gets varies but it is invariably a substantial share of the price, and the sector was raided again at Budget 2011. The idea that fossil fuels are subsidised by the British government is silly. To the extent that there is support, it is for things like carbon capture and storage designed with environmental objectives in mind.


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