News - Analysis

Country Update: Assessing Egypt's Energy Subsidy Reforms

In early-July 2014, the Egyptian Government announced sweeping measures to significantly increase most of the energy prices paid by businesses and households. ‘Big bang’ reform of this kind is a bold break from the past: energy prices in Egypt have changed little over several decades. According to the government, the reforms represent a decisive first step in reducing the burden of energy subsidies on Egypt’s public finances.

Argentina Cuts Energy and Water Subsidies to Businesses and High-Income Neighborhoods

The government of Argentina has begun making cuts to energy and water subsidies totaling over US$ 1 billion in order to slow the growth of its substantial subsidy expenditure. The subsidy cuts, which began going into effect on 3 December 2010, are being targeted at large businesses and affluent households.

Economics and Politics Collide for Asian Governments Drowning in Fuel Subsidy Debt

With petroleum prices reaching all-time highs in recent years, governments accustomed to subsidizing energy have seen their subsidy costs rise to economically unsustainable levels. However, though many such governments recognize the need to reform their policies and have at times announced their intention to do so, the negative political consequences of removing entrenched subsidies have often stalled attempts at subsidy reform. This is particularly the case in countries with weak governments.

Country profile: petroleum-product subsidies in India

An overview of petroleum-product subsidies in India.

Fukushima Disaster Puts Focus on Hidden Subsidies to Nuclear Power

The ongoing disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has put the risks of nuclear power in stark relief.

Renewable energy subsidies and the WTO: The wrong law and the wrong venue

Japan recently announced that consultations had failed to resolve its dispute with Canada over the Province of Ontario’s feed-in-tariffs for renewable energy, and that in mid-June it will be asking the WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel. This is awful news for the multilateral trade system, for which the dispute will be corrosive, seemingly pitting trade against the environment.

Clarifying misconceptions about taxpayer-subsidized ethanol exports in the United States

Last November, the Financial Times published an article charging that U.S.-produced ethanol is collecting U.S. tax credits before being shipped to Europe, where it also qualifies for favorable tax treatment. I covered this story in "Taxpayer Subsidized Ethanol Exports May Bite Industry in the Future". The gist of my article was that if this charge is true, it completely undermines the supposed reasons U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing ethanol in the first place: to reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Rising costs: fossil-fuel subsidies and oil price volatility. An interview with the IEA's Amos Bromhead

IEA Senior Energy Analyst Amos Bromhead on the relationship between fossil-fuel subsidies and oil price volatility.

Global food prices and increased biofuel production: an overview of the food vs. fuel debate

Author’s note: This article provides a short overview of the more prominent research, media articles and organisations that have been involved in the debate about increased biofuel production and rising food prices – the ‘food vs. fuel’ debate. As literature on the subject is extensive and growing, it does not claim to be comprehensive, nor to evaluate the accuracy of the research papers and statements to which it refers.

Arab governments turn to subsidies to quell popular unrest

Since the protests that began in Tunisia last December started to spread throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), a common response from leaders in the region has been to shore up popular support by granting large subsidies to their citizens. Governments from Morocco and Egypt to Saudi Arabia and Yemen have promised everything from cheaper food and fuel to pay raises and outright cash handouts to stem the wave of discontent.

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