US taxpayer-funded, direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry are estimated, conservatively, at $20 billion per year.
DNC 2020: Biden and Sanders agreed to drop a demand to end fossil fuel tax breaks from Democrat platform

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) confirmed to The Independent on Wednesday that they had dropped from the party's platform a demand to end oil and gas subsidies and tax breaks - despite both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris campaigning on the issue.

A list of amendments, called the "manager's mark", was approved last month for the draft party platform. According to a report from Huffington Post, this included the statement: "Democrats support eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuels, and will fight to defend and extend tax incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy.”

The final draft of the DNC platform no longer has the statement.

"The amendment in question was incorrectly included in the manager's mark," a DNC spokesperson said in an email to The Independent.

"After the error was discovered, both the Biden campaign and Sanders campaign, along with those who submitted the amendment, agreed to withdraw the amendment from consideration."

The spokesperson noted that more than 150 amendments were adopted by the platform committee, but added that: "This amendment was not part of the final draft platform voted on by all the delegates."

Mr Biden's climate plan called for historic investment in clean energy which would be paid for, in part, by "ending subsidies for fossil fuels". The plan also called for the US leading the charge in a global ban on fossil fuel subsidies.

"There is simply no excuse for subsidizing fossil fuel, either in the United States or around the world," Mr Biden's climate strategy noted.

Senator Harris' plan also called to "end federal subsidies for fossil fuels and hold Big Oil accountable for its role in the climate crisis,” the Washington Post reported. (Her campaign website is no longer active). In 2017, she co-sponsored the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act.

Climate activists balked at the change with some hoping that the omission had been made in error.

Bill McKibben, environmentalist and co-founder of climate non-profit 350.org, tweeted: "Hoping this was just a mistake, because ending fossil fuel subsidies is a no-brainer. Pretty sure it was in the 2016 platform (pretty sure I wrote it in, in fact) Seems like something they could and should fix easily."

Jamie Henn, another co-founder of 350.org, wrote: "The DNC is an anchor on what needs to be a sprint away from fossil fuels. Time for new leadership."

A 2015 report by the International Monetary Fund found that the world spends $5.3 trillion subsidising the energy sector, largely fossil fuels.

US taxpayer-funded, direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry are estimated, conservatively, at $20 billion annually, according to a report by Environmental and Energy Study Institute.

Although Republicans are typically skewered by environmentalists for their cosiness to the fossil fuel industry, the powerful sector also plays a role in Democratic politics.

Mr Biden has said that he would end new oil and gas permits on public lands but has stopped short of calling for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, the drilling technique dubbed fracking. The industry employs thousands of people in the swing state of Pennsylvania.

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