Taxpayers for Common Sense is a national, non-partisan budget watchdog organization that promotes sound fiscal policy across the federal government. The mission of Taxpayers for Common Sense is to fight for a federal government that operates within its means. We focus our efforts on eliminating programs and policies that are both wasteful and harmful, including subsidies to polluting industries, weapons systems that don’t work, and federal disaster insurance that encourages risky practices.
For taxpayers, the costs of climate change are mounting. Catastrophic floods, hurricanes, and wildfires are more destructive because of climate change, and taxpayers pay the price. The National Flood Insurance Program has borrowed more than $36 billion from taxpayers to pay claims. This, of course, is on top of the human costs — losses of life, homes, businesses, and other property. Communities that do seek to mitigate or prevent harm face challenges and a scarcity of available resources to prepare for the next disaster. And an increase in the frequency and intensity of severe weather events is undercutting the ability of farming and ranching businesses to effectively manage production risk.
Any serious climate effort must substantially reduce the number and costs of tax expenditures, subsidies, and sweetheart deals provided for activities that increase greenhouse gas emissions. A first step towards addressing climate change is to eliminate federal incentives that increase production of oil and gas, one of the most significant sources of carbon emissions. For more than a century, oil and gas companies have benefited from multiple taxpayer subsidies, such as special tax preferences, below-cost leasing of public lands, and limited liabilities. Entrenched market advantages help maintain fossil fuels’ dominance at the expense of other, less harmful technologies.
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