The International Monetary Fund estimates fossil fuel subsidies cost the U.S. government $649 billion in 2015, which is more than government spending on the military and 10 times the government spending on education. As the second-largest fossil fuel subsidizer in the world, and largest carbon polluter in history according to the New York Times, the U.S. needs to do its part for the climate by eliminating these subsidies.

Climate change – which National Geographic states is expedited by fossil fuel extraction and usage – is already killing people and destroying our homes. Global warming currently causes some 150,000 deaths each year, a number swiftly rising, according to the World Health Organization. As Congress stands by, experts have published reports stating climate change caused droughts that led to 8.8 million acres burned by wildfires last year and government costs for hurricane damage are $28 billion a year.

The United States has a responsibility to help clean up the mess we have made. Congress can start by ending fossil fuel subsidies and leading the way toward a healthier planet. Our leadership could help encourage the reduction of these subsidies worldwide, which the International Monetary Fund says would decrease carbon emissions by 28 percent.

The United States leads the world through our actions. We need to use this global influence to battle climate change, starting by ending fossil fuel subsidies. While many say we will not make a difference on our own, as the top contributor to this crisis, we can be the catalyst for worldwide change.

Libby Greenlaw

Falmouth

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