Why Don’t Journalists Ask Fossil Fuel CEOs Whether THEIR Industry Can “Stand On Its Own Two Feet” Without Subsidies?

Yesterday, we posted on two recent interviews with Vestas CEO Anders Runevad. One of the questions, by a CNBC on-air correspondent, really jumped out at us:

“Does your industry still need subsidies…does your industry stand on its own two feet economically now, or does it still rely on subsidies?”

Now, Anders Runevad gave a superb answer to this question, that “this is a regulated industry,” and that “if we cut out all subsidies, including the $500 billion on fossil fuels, I’m very confident that we would be able to stand on our own without subsidies.” But Runevad’s spot-on response doesn’t change the fact that this question, aimed at one of the leading clean energy companies in the world, is rarely if ever asked of the fossil fuel industry, which over the years has received orders of magnitude more in government subsidies than clean energy. Also worth pointing out is the fact that fossil fuels currently receive around $550 billion a year in subsidies worldwide, “more than four times the $120 billion paid out in incentives for renewables.” Finally, note that those subsidies for fossil fuels don’t even count the massive, almost incalculable, “negative externalities” stemming from environmental and health damages caused by dirty energy sources like coal and oil.

All of which again raises the question: why don’t journalists badger fossil fuel CEOs  — ExxonMobil, Chevron, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Alpha Natural Resources, or utilities like Ohio’s FirstEnergy with their hands out for a “coal bailout” – every time they interview them about whether their industry can “stand on its own two feet economically now, or does it still rely on subsidies?” If nothing else, the answers, or more likely non-answers, to that question could be highly revealing.