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No bailout for Big Oil

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From Inequality Media

Earlier this week, the oil market crashed and sent prices to $0 a barrel. Almost immediately, the fossil fuel industry clamored for a taxpayer-funded bailout and Republicans were ready to give it to them.

Let me be very clear: We should not try to prop up oil prices. We should not bail out oil companies.

We must accelerate our shift to solar, wind, and other non-fossil fuels. We must work towards a world in which workers and communities thrive and our shared climate comes before industry profits.

Both our economy and the environment are in crisis. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few while the majority of Americans struggle to get by. The climate crisis is worsening inequality, as those who are most economically vulnerable bear the brunt of flooding, fires, and disruptions to supplies of food, water, and power.

We cannot go back to normal after this pandemic ends.

This Earth Day, we partnered with Greenpeace USA to outline the four crucial steps we must take if we have any hope of avoiding climate catastrophe and rectifying rampant income inequality.

Make no mistake: the simultaneous crisis of inequality and climate is no fluke. Both are the result of decades of deliberate choices made, and policies enacted, by ultra-wealthy and powerful corporations.

If the solutions outlined in our video sound drastic to you, it's because they are. They have to be if we have any hope of keeping our planet habitable. The climate crisis is not a far-off apocalyptic nightmare -- it is our present day.

Australia's bush-fires wiped out a billion animals, California's fire season wreaks more havoc every year, and record-setting storms are tearing through our communities like never before.

Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry has exploited the coronavirus crisis to suspend all environmental regulations.

Scientists tell us we have 10 years left to dramatically reduce emissions. We have no room for meek half-measures wrapped up inside giant handouts to the fossil fuel industry. And we certainly have no room for a pandemic response that ramps up carbon pollution.

I'll say it again: we should not try to prop up oil prices. Oil companies do not deserve to see a dime of taxpayer money.

We cannot go back to normal after this crisis ends.

 

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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