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The High Cost of Cheap Energy: Russia's Fossil-Fuel Subsidies Undermine Sustainable Development

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The High Cost of Cheap Energy: Russia's Fossil-Fuel Subsidies Undermine Sustainable Development

Russia provides some of the largest subsidies for fossil fuels in the world.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that Russian subsidies for the consumption of fossil fuels totalled almost US$34 billion in 2009. Russia is not alone in reducing the prices of fuels for its citizens. The IEA estimated that in 2009 global consumer subsidies for fossil fuels totalled US$312 billion. These estimates do not include subsidies to fossil fuel producers, which may be another US$100 billion per year globally. This commentary argues that fossil fuel subsidies can hold back economic development, are not an effective way to help the poor and can have adverse environmental impacts.

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