Today, President Biden and Democratic leaders announced a framework for the Build Back Better Act. In response Greenpeace USA Climate Campaign Director Janet Redman said: 

“On the same day that Big Oil CEOs testified in Congress about their role in spreading disinformation about the climate crisis – and admitted their knowledge of the harm fossil fuel emissions are causing – President Biden announced a framework for the Build Back Better Act that fails to remove billions in domestic fossil fuel subsidies and falls short of his own climate targets. The Biden Administration and Congress’s inability to craft a bill that ends taxpayer funding of the industry most responsible for the climate crisis is a betrayal of Biden’s campaign promise, the will of the people who elected him, and a failure to deliver on a globally agreed-upon, common-sense climate policy.

“The current Build Back Better framework includes positive investments in clean energy, childcare, and housing, and we are grateful to the visionary policymakers who held the line to win these progressive priorities. But it wastes an opportunity to stand up to the corporations most responsible for driving us towards a climate catastrophe.

“It is easy to call this the biggest climate bill ever when the Federal government has done so little to protect people from the unfolding crisis, and when our democracy is so polluted by the influence of fossil fuel lobbyists. The bar for action cannot be set by what pundits deem possible or by the accomplishments of past administrations – it must be set by science and justice. Science demands we rapidly phase out fossil fuel extraction and transition to 100 percent renewable energy. Justice demands we invest in the communities who have borne the brunt of pollution and the workers who currently depend on the fossil fuel economy.

“As President Biden prepares to join world leaders at COP26, this spending package is not enough to prove that the U.S. is a global leader in a world in a climate crisis. It is instead a clarion call to the climate movement and all who care about their kids’ futures to double down and demand climate action at the scale, speed, and ambition necessary. We will continue to push for aggressive climate policies and to eliminate all fossil fuel subsidies until the final bill is signed.”

About fossil fuel subsidies

  • Fossil fuel companies receive $15 billion every year in direct government subsidies.
  • Big fossil fuel companies claimed $8.2 billion in 2020 from the CARES Act pandemic relief bill and still laid off 16 percent of their workforce. The US government has propped up the coal, oil, and gas industry for decades, despite the fact that a majority of voters want to end fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Eliminating just a single corporate tax break – the Intangible Drilling Cost subsidy – would reduce new oil drilling by 25 percent.
  • These subsidies don’t always lead to jobs. Peter Erikson of the Stockholm Environment Institute summarized research in a Congressional hearing revealing that, “over 96% of the value of the subsidies in the tax code goes directly to profits over and above the minimum investment hurdle rates that would be required to actually make those new investments happen.” (Source) (Full paper)
  • The UN Secretary-General described the latest IPCC climate science report as a “code red moment for humanity.” In the same statement, he called on countries to end all fossil fuel subsidies as a commonsense policy response to the report.

Quick facts

  • 66% of Americans supported the Build Back Better Act in September (Source)
  • 70 percent of Americans are worried about global warming and 55 percent are saying that people in the US are being harmed by it right now (Source)
  • Between 2000 and 2016, fossil fuel interests spent nearly $2 billion to derail climate legislation. (Source)