The energy game is rigged in favor of fossil fuels because we omit the environmental and health costs of burning coal, oil, and natural gas from their prices.
Subsidies manipulate the game even further.
According to conservative estimates from the Global Subsidies Initiative and the International Energy Agency (IEA), governments around the world spent more than $620 billion to subsidize fossil fuel energy in 2011: some $100 billion for production and $523 billion for consumption.
This was 20 percent higher than in 2010, largely because of higher world oil prices. Of the $523 billion that supported consumption, $285 billion went to oil, $104 billion to natural gas, and $3 billion to coal; an additional $131 billion was divided among the three energy sources specifically for electricity use.
Through these subsidies, governments cut the prices people paid for fossil energy by nearly a quarter