Article Series: Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Tracking Progress: International Cooperation to Reform Fossil-Fuel Subsidies

The leaders of the Group of Twenty (G-20) countries agreed in September 2009 to phase-out inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies over the medium term. This section of the GSI website is dedicated to tracking the progress that has taken place since this commitment – including developments at subsequent G-20 Summits, the similar commitment made by APEC Leaders in November 2009; the formation of a group of ‘Friends’ countries in support of both reform movements; and efforts to reduce fossil-fuel subsidies in international processes such as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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Fiscal Instruments in INDCs: How Countries are Looking to Fiscal Policies to Support INDC Implementation

Countries are increasingly turning to the use of fiscal instruments to support low-carbon development and efforts to reduce emissions. This is evidenced in the proliferation of the references to these instruments within the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that were submitted and examined in advance of COP 21. With that in mind, IISD and GIZ (on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) have undertaken a rapid review of INDCs to highlight countries that have identified these tools as part of their INDCs.

G-20 Subsidies to Oil, Gas and Coal Production

Jointly prepared by the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI), Oil Change International (OCI) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), these country studies and accompanying data sheets compile publicly available information on subsidies to oil, gas and coal production in Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey in 2013 and 2014.

Tackling Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Climate Change: Levelling the energy playing field

Subsidies for the consumption of fossil fuels were estimated at US$550 billion in 2013, according to the International Energy Agency. This report by IISD and the Nordic Council of Ministers modeled the impact of removing fossil fuel subsidies in 20 countries between 2015 and 2020. The results show that this alone would reduce national emissions, against business as usual, by an average of 11 per cent. By taking 30 per cent of subsidy savings, and investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency, national emissions are reduced further to an average of 18 per cent by 2020. The report also includes case studies of reform in the Philippines, Morocco and Jordan.

Fossil-Fuel Subsidies and Climate Change Options for Policy-Makers within their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions

In 2014 almost 30 countries, including Egypt, Indonesia and India, delivered some form of fossil-fuel subsidy reform (FFSR). Current low oil prices make the removal of consumer fossil-fuel subsidies to the public easier because, depending on the level of subsidies, pass-through costs to the consumer are lowered. As a result, many countries that maintain subsidies to oil, gas, diesel, coal and electricity generated from such fuels will be considering or undergoing reform in the near future.

Financing the Sustainable Development Goals Through Fossil-fuel Subsidy Reform: Opportunities in Southeast Asia, India and China

This report from the Global Subsidies Initiative of IISD was launched in conjunction with the Asia Europe Foundation, at a conference on September 29-30 exploring the financing of future Sustainable Development Goals. The report finds that fossil-fuel subsidy removal and the subsequent taxation of fossil fuels, via carbon taxes and VAT could provide significant fiscal resources to Asian governments in order to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) via a ‘Means of Implementation’.

Reform of Fossil-Fuel Subsidies: Nordic Cooperation on Fossil-Fuel Subsidy Reform in Developing Countries

This study provides input to the Nordic Council of Ministers by identifying options and opportunities for increased Nordic cooperation on the phasing out of fossil-fuel subsidies in developing countries. The research explores existing Nordic cooperation efforts in the fields of energy, climate change and extractives, outlines Nordic development trends and priorities, proposes partner countries, identifies potential areas of cooperation, and presents four recommendations for future action.

Mapping Options for a Voluntary Peer Review of Fossil-Fuel Subsidy Reform within the G-20

This briefing presents options for a voluntary peer-review process within the G-20 and elsewhere for discussion at a roundtable event with members of the G-20, APEC and Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform. The briefing aims to identify feasible, short-term options for establishing a voluntary peer-review process within the political constraints of the G-20 commitment to reduce fossil-fuel subsidies.

The paper draws on a review of documents from the G-20 and other international forums, policy-research reports, academic literature and expert interviews.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies at Rio+20

The Global Subsidies Initiative was engaged with a number of partners and stakeholders to promote an ambitious outcome at Rio+20. This page summarizes its key activities.

Analysis: G-20 and APEC Progress

This GSI is engaged in analyzing the progress on fossil-fuel subsidy reform made by G-20 and APEC countries. To date, this includes a review of the G-20's first year since committing to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies; an exploratory investigation of tax- and royalty-related subsidies to oil extraction in five G-20 countries; and an analysis of the appropriate institutional home for fossil-fuel subsidy reform.

G-20 Summit Policy Briefs

Following the G-20's announcement to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies, and prior to each subsequent G-20 Summit, the GSI has released policy briefs analysing what countries need to do and what has been done so far to implement fossil-fuel subsidy reform.

Library of Official G-20 Documents and Related Reports

This page lists all publicly available G-20 and APEC documents on the reform of fossil-fuel subsidies, as well as related publications.