Over the past year, climate campaigners didn’t grow tired of claiming that the fossil fuel industry received “a whopping $5.2 trillion in subsidies” in 2017, equivalent to 6.5 percent of global GDP. Quoting an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report that suggests the US alone wastes $649 billion annually, Rolling Stone declared that “the United States has spent more subsidizing fossil fuels in recent years than it has on defense spending.“
Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, wash your clothes in cold water, eat less meat, recycle more, and buy an electric car: we are being bombarded with instructions from climate campaigners, environmentalists, and the media about the everyday steps we all must take to tackle climate change. Unfortunately, these appeals trivialize the challenge of global warming and divert our attention from the huge technological and policy changes that are needed to combat it.
The UN climate summit is underway in Madrid, and activists are sounding their usual calls for world leaders to achieve carbon neutrality as fast as possible. It’s a fool’s errand. From California to France to Chile, environmentalists laud leaders for already making the promise, and sometimes even passing legislation, to stop putting more greenhouse gases into the air than they take out.