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Subsidies

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With over 10 years of experience, the IISD Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) is widely recognized as world-class leader in the quantification, evaluation and reform of subsidies.

Governments around the world spend at least a trillion dollars a year on subsidies to exploit the world's natural resources. But faced with increasing fiscal constraints, and concerned about making their economies cleaner, more inclusive and stable, governments are under increasing pressure to change course.

GSI works closely with governments to help them move away from subsidies that hinder sustainability. The goal is to encourage individual governments to undertake unilateral reforms on subsidy policy where these would deliver clear economic, environmental and social benefits. GSI also aims to generate a consensus in the World Trade Organization and in other forums on the need to take resolute, ongoing and systematic action to reduce or eliminate subsidies that are trade-distorting and undermine sustainable development.

  • Paper
    Shining a Light on Fossil Fuel Subsidies at the WTO: How NGOs can contribute to WTO notification and surveillance

    Shining a Light on Fossil Fuel Subsidies at the WTO: How NGOs can contribute to WTO notification and surveillance

    Fossil fuel subsidies undermine efforts to mitigate climate change and damage the trading system. However, multilateral discussion is hampered by inconsistent definitions and incomplete data.

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  • Report
    The End of Coal Mining in South Wales: Lessons learned from industrial transformation

    The End of Coal Mining in South Wales: Lessons learned from industrial transformation

    The decline of coal mining in South Wales has important lessons for policy-makers and civil society grappling with the challenges of transition—what can be learned from this experience?

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  • Infographic
    Mind the Gap: Fossil Fuel Subsidies Could Fill the SDG Financing Gap

    Mind the Gap: Fossil Fuel Subsidies Could Fill the SDG Financing Gap

    Research suggests that removing all consumer fossil fuel subsidies would decrease global carbon emissions anywhere between 6–8 per cent by 2050. Swapping savings into sustainable energy would improve emissions reductions further.

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  • Blog
    UK is in no position to lecture Saudis on oil dependence

    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.

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

    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.

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  • Blog
    Sticks and Toxic Carrots: Clearing the air in China and India

    Sticks 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.

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  • Policy Brief
    Stopping Payments to Polluters: Clearing the air with fossil fuel subsidy reform in China and India

    Stopping Payments to Polluters: Clearing the air with fossil fuel subsidy reform in China and India

    Improving urban air quality is a headline concern in both India and China. Fossil fuel subsidy reform is a potentially powerful tool in securing an improvement for both countries.

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  • Commentary
    A Solar Journey: Reaching the remotest villages

    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.

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  • Video
    Webinar: Zombie Energy: Climate benefits of ending subsidies to fossil fuel production

    Webinar: Zombie Energy: Climate benefits of ending subsidies to fossil fuel production

    On Thursday February 16, 2017, IISD’s Global Subsidies Initiative presented a webinar which convened experts who have crunched the numbers on both fiscal and climate benefits of ending fossil fuel subsidies at the level of countries, markets, and the entire world. This is a recording of that webinar.

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  • Paper
    Zombie Energy: Climate benefits of ending subsidies to fossil fuel production

    Zombie Energy: Climate benefits of ending subsidies to fossil fuel production

    This working paper explains how different production subsidies currently unlock “zombie energy” from fossil fuel deposits that would not be commercially viable to produce without government support. It also presents new modelling of the global removal of certain subsidies to fossil fuel production.

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