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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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  • 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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  • Report
    Chapter 4, Indonesia: Pricing Reforms, Social Assistance, and the Importance of Perceptions, The Political Economy of Energy Subsidy Reform

    Chapter 4, Indonesia: Pricing Reforms, Social Assistance, and the Importance of Perceptions, The Political Economy of Energy Subsidy Reform

    This World Bank book, edited by by Gabriela Inchauste and David G. Victor, brings together detailed chapters on the political economy of subsidy...

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  • Report
    Compensation Mechanisms for Fuel Subsidy Removal in Nigeria

    Compensation Mechanisms for Fuel Subsidy Removal in Nigeria

    This study conducts a detailed analysis of the compensation mechanisms that could be used to mitigate the impact of fuel subsidy removal on weak and vulnerable segments of Nigerian society.

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  • Commentary
    Meeting Canada's Subsidy Phase-Out Goal: What it means in Quebec

    Meeting Canada's Subsidy Phase-Out Goal: What it means in Quebec

    IISD takes a preliminary look at consumer fossil fuel subsidies in Quebec, which it estimates at roughly CAD 270 million in 2015.

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  • Report
    Learning from Leaders: Nordic and International Best Practice with Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform

    Learning from Leaders: Nordic and International Best Practice with Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform

    This report describes how Ethiopia, Morocco, Peru and the Philippines have reformed their subsidies. It also describes how countries including Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have introduced innovative policy instruments to encourage switching towards renewable and sustainable energy.

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