Coronavirus

Going back to the dark ages: The US government wants to bail out the fossil fuel industry

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By Anders Lorenzen

Progressive politicians around the world are talking up the idea of a green recovery as a way to bounce back from the COVID-19 outbreak. But perhaps it is no big surprise that the fossil fuel loving Trump administration takes a different approach.

The US government is preparing plans for a very generous and lucrative bond bailout gift to fossil fuel companies.

According to the Guardian, at least 90 fossil fuel companies, some of them amongst the world’s largest oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, are set to gain from this bailout. 

The coronavirus bond buyback programme is believed to be worth at least $750bn, and is overall likely to benefit thousands of companies. It is not yet known how big a proportion of those funds will go to the fossil fuel industry.

But It is believed, according to analysis, that ten out of the top 40 fracking companies would be eligible to apply for the bailout package.

The drastic plunge in the oil price has thrown the future of many oil companies into doubt. But the drop in energy demand is also heavily impacting coal companies. To qualify for the bailout, the Federal Reserve scheme which is administered by Black Rock, applicant companies must obtain a specific credit rating;  BBB-Baa3.

It is quite likely the bailout came after heavy lobbying by the fossil fuel industry. On Twitter the Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse tweeted that one particular oil and gas company has spent four million on political lobbying for COVID-19 aid packages.


In similar news Republicans accused Wall Street of discriminating against fossil fuels by dropping their support for fossil fuel projects.

Many experts will not be surprised by the fossil fuel bailout move, as Trump in his tenure as president has been a champion of the fossil fuel industry, while doing everything he can to slow down efforts to tackle climate change.

The US is the country in the world where the coronavirus outbreak has had the worst impact.  At the time of writing 1.8 million cases have been detected with more 100,000 deaths. 

2020 is also a crucial election year and in November Americans will go to the polls to elect the next US president, that is if the coronavirus outbreak allows it to take place. Depending on whether we will see a Trump or Joe Biden presidency the country’s energy policy would change significantly. 

 

7 replies »

  1. Anders, Anders, Anders… another misguided greenbean. Reading between your lines I gather you would support the utterly insane notion of doing away with fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy. Not going to happen in yours or my lifetime. Why? Because there are 280 million cars on the road in the United States and 1 billion in the world. They run on fossil fuels and are the fundamental backbone of transportation in this world… and will remain so far into the future. This undeniable fact makes fossil fuels necessary for the world to operate. And furthermore, let’s assume we find an alternative to fossil fuel based automobile what would we do with the colossal numbers of obsolete automobiles? The only serious option would be to incinerate them somehow and doing so would most likely contribute to more pollution than the original combustion engine. The solution is to find a way to reduce carbon from automobiles and over the next 100 years phase them out. Cars, not power plants are the big carbon problem. So that being said we need oil and gas companies in the U.S. for the foreseeable future to power our world and for national security. You cannot seriously deny my comments.

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