Subsidy Watch Blog

The Subsidy Watch blog provides news, commentary and analysis related to subsidies and sustainable development.

Making the International Trade System Work for Climate Change: Five Ways to Address Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements

Can the international trade system be a catalyst for reforming fossil fuel subsidies (FFSs) to help relieve the burden on the public purse, reduce local and global air pollution, improve energy security and tackle climate change? 

The True Cost of Coal and Renewables in Indonesia

Indonesia is facing an energy crunch as demand for electricity rises across the country. The country is one of the world’s largest coal producers, and is developing plans for an additional 35 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired power stations. Proponents of the development claim that coal is the cheapest source of energy available. Is this really true?

Talking Gender and Energy Sector Reform at the Vienna Energy Forum

IISD’s Global Subsidies Initiative presented at a side event on May 9 to the Vienna Energy Forum organized by ENERGIA, the International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. The side event focused on cutting-edge empirical evidence on how energy interventions are delivering on gender impacts, and on the key gaps within existing research that need to be addressed to ensure more gender-equitable outcomes of energy interventions.

G20 must support good jobs in the low carbon transition

Donald Trump won the US presidency railing against “job-killing regulation” and promising to put coal miners back to work.

Transferring Fossil Fuel Subsidies to Clean Energy Could Yield Major Savings in Dollars and GHG Emissions – Report

A new report from the Nordic Council of Ministers finds that redirecting fossil fuel subsidies toward the clean energy transition could help climate vulnerable countries reap major savings while slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

Change Makers Leap Forward as Momentum for Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Grows

There is a pressing “need for faster reform, urgency and political commitment.” These were the opening highlights of the fifth high-level event on fossil fuel subsidy reform, organized by the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (“Friends”), Global Subsidies Initiative and the World Bank on April 21, in the context of the 2017 International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring Meetings held in Washington, D.C. The side event was attended by country officials, members of international organizations and civil society groups.

A Low-Hanging Fruit for Financing and Implementing SDGs: End Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Phase-out and reallocation of fossil fuel subsidies (FFS) is a low-hanging fruit for financing and implementing SDGs.

UK is in no position to lecture Saudis on oil dependence

PM Theresa May has offered to help wean Saudi Arabia off oil, but her government’s subsidies to North Sea producers are a poor model for the Middle East petrostate.

Indonesia Energy News March 2017

As part of its work on energy policy and sustainable development in Indonesia, the Global Subsidies Initiative publishes a regular briefing on issues related to energy subsidies.

Sticks, carrots and toxic carrots: clearing the air in China and India

Both countries can do more to ensure that policies on air pollution and clean energy are aligned.

A Solar Journey: Reaching the remotest villages

Sarda’s remote location cuts off its market linkages and increases the challenge of making electricity accessible and other basic services. We document the deployment of solar in this community.


Learning from Leaders: How experts shed light on fossil fuel subsidy reform at COP 22

Cooperative, non-market and country-led—that was the order of the day when it came to fossil fuel subsidy reform (FFSR) at the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) from November 7–19 in Marrakech, Morocco

Naked Budgets: A fiscal argument to save the climate

Two news stories this week, emerging from either side of the Atlantic, encapsulate the climate change conundrum.

GSI at COP 22

Below are posters of GSI supported events at COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco. A full listing of FFSR events can be found here.

How Electricity Subsidy Reform Can Benefit Indonesia

The Government of Indonesia has been considering a new wave of electricity subsidy reforms since January 2016—delaying its plans twice now for a combination of political and practical reasons. Almost every time and in every country, citizens do not welcome such reforms, asking questions like "Will I have to pay more for power?" "Why do prices need to go up anyway?" and "How are the poorest expected to cope?" But while costs and risks are often well understood, the benefits and opportunities of reform do not receive the same attention.