Greta Thunberg: U.S. fossil fuel tax incentives a 'disgrace'
Swedish climate advocate Greta Thunberg urged a House subcommittee on Thursday to end tax breaks for fossil fuel producers, saying their existence was a "disgrace," and she accused lawmakers who have failed to remove them as "proof that we have not understood the climate emergency."
"How long do you honestly believe that people in power like you will get away with it? How long do you think you can continue to ignore the climate crisis, the global aspect of equity and historic emissions without being held accountable?” she testified virtually to the House Oversight Environment Subcommittee hearing.
“You get away with it now, but sooner or later people are going to realize what you have been doing this time. That’s inevitable. You still have time to do the right thing and to save your legacies, but that window of time is not going to last for long,” she said.
Thunberg's comment comes as the U.S. Treasury Department has proposed eliminating some tax provisions used by oil, gas and coal producers to help pay for President Joe Biden's $2.2 trillion infrastructure and climate plan.
Progressives push to end breaks: Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), chair of the subcommittee, told POLITICO ahead of the hearing the push to end the tax breaks for fossil fuel production would remain a rallying cry for progressives.
“This has to be the minimum that we do on climate and that the climate movement is united around that,” Khanna said.
As part of his American Jobs Plan, Biden promised to eliminate “special preferences” that take the form of “subsidies, loopholes, and special foreign tax credits for the fossil fuel industry.”
Khanna's panel has homed in on repealing a tax provision that allows oil companies to expense intangible drilling costs, which include wide variety of activities needed to prepare a well for drilling, as well as the “percentage depletion allowance,” which allows independent producers to deduct a percentage of the total value of the oil reserves extracted in the tax year.
Republicans blast 'fear tactics': Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), the panel's ranking member, said Democrats were scaring people with doomsday scenarios about climate change.
"My colleagues on the left have regrettably resorted to fear tactics to scare people into action regarding climate change," he said. "This is not healthy, nor is it productive."