Dependence on Big Oil, Dirty Coal Could Cost U.S. $30 Trillion By 2030

For Immediate Release


Jen Mueller or Emily Figdor, 202-683-1250

Dependence on Big Oil, Dirty Coal Could Cost U.S. $30 Trillion By 2030

Groups Call on Congress to Repower America with Clean Energy for Consumers and Environment

WASHINGTON - Between 2010 and 2030, the United States will spend as much as $30
trillion on oil, coal, and other fossil fuels - nearly four times the
total earnings of all American workers in 2007.  At the same time,
pollution from fossil fuels is the number one source of air and global
warming pollution and a leading source of water pollution, said
Environment America in a new report analyzing government data on energy.

spending on fossil fuels is largely driven by our dependence on oil,
according to the analysis.  The United States is on track to spend as
much as $1.3 trillion on oil alone in 2030, 78 percent of the nation’s
total spending on fossil fuels.

“This Independence Day, we are
calling on Congress to break our dependence on Big Oil and Dirty Coal,”
said Emily Figdor of Environment America.  “Instead of allowing the
costs of fossil fuels to continue to mount, Congress should repower
America with clean, renewable energy that will create jobs and stop
global warming.”

The High Cost of Fossil Fuels: Why America
Can’t Afford to Depend on Dirty Energy found that our national bill for
fossil fuels in 2008 exceeded $1 trillion for the first time ever –
more than was spent on education or the military.  And by 2030, we
could spend as much as $1.7 trillion per year on fossil fuels – an
additional $1,500 for every man, woman, and child nationwide.  The
report also includes state-by-state data.

“The high fossil
fuel prices we paid in 2007 and 2008, which crushed our economy, will
soon become the new normal, unless we kick our dependence on fossil
fuels,” said Tony Dutzik, senior policy analyst for the Frontier Group
and a co-author of the report.

These figures do not include the
untold damages to our environment, health, and society resulting from
the production and use of fossil fuels – such as global warming, air
and water pollution, mountaintop mining, and oil spills.  “Every
additional dollar we spend on fossil fuels buys us more global warming,
more smog, and more asthma attacks,” continued Figdor.

“Many children will pay for today’s air pollution with decreased
lung function when they are adults,” said Jerome Paulson, MD, of the
American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Environmental Health and the
Children’s National Medical Center.  “It is imperative that we act now
to protect the next generation.”

“It is critical for our national security that we break America’s
dependence on fossil fuels, which puts our troops’ lives at risk,
empties our nation’s treasury, funds our enemies, and fuels global
warming,” said former U.S. Army Captain and Iraq veteran Jonathan

In contrast, moving to clean energy – wind turbines, solar panels,
and energy-efficient homes and buildings – would save money, even
excluding the additional benefits for the environment, health, and
security.  For instance, a recent report by the Union of Concerned
Scientists found that transitioning to clean energy would cut costs by
$900 per household annually by 2030 and save consumers and businesses a
total of $1.7 trillion between 2010 and 2030.  In addition, clean
energy creates jobs here at home, since clean energy projects tend to
be labor intensive and cannot be outsourced.

“When the choice is between paying to uphold a dirty polluting
status quo and investing in a new direction for America, clean energy
is the clear winner,” said Figdor.

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American
Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), landmark legislation that
creates a framework for moving to a clean energy economy and curbing
global warming. 

“While the dramatic shift we need in our energy policy and the dire
scientific predictions regarding global warming demand that we go much
further, the first step is always the hardest.  We learn to walk before
we can run; this historic act by Congress gets us up on our feet and
heading toward a clean energy economy,” concluded Figdor. 

Environment America called on the Senate to strengthen and pass the bill.


Environment America is a federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organizations. Our professional staff in 27 states and Washington, D.C., combines independent research, practical ideas and tough-minded advocacy to overcome the opposition of powerful special interests and win real results for the environment. Environment America draws on 30 years of success in tackling environmental problems.

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