I am sympathetic to the argument that the US government and state governments have in place various schemes to subsidize the oil and coal and gas industries. And I agree with the environmental community who wishes to see these subsidies, tax breaks, favorable regulations, etc. removed.
But let me ask a question. The answer to this question will tell you what people truly believe to be the net impacts of government policy on coal, oil and gas to really be. And I argue that to be consistent, you'd have to support the following deal:
Would you favor a complete abolition of ANY AND ALL tax and regulatory preferences for the production and sale of coal, gas and oil … so long as along with it we also end all taxes on the consumption and sale of these products? After all, if you truly think that oil and gas and coal are on net "favored" then you would have to stake out the position that the impact of the subsidies and favorable treatments exceeds that of the suppression of production and consumption due to the corporate taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, drilling restrictions, etc. and the like on the other end.
Call me crazy – but I do not know a single "E"nvironmentalist who would accept such a deal. Are they out there? And if not, please tell me why you would not accept such a deal, if indeed you want me to take the original claim seriously – that claim being that our policies ON NET are extremely favorable to the fossil fuel industries. Maybe the oil is drowning out the load chirping of the crickets.
As a final thought experiment, do you think folks would be willing to apply the same logic to the renewables industry?