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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.

  • Blog
    Making the International Trade System Work for Climate Change:  Five Ways to Address Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements

    Making the International Trade System Work for Climate Change: Five Ways to Address Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements

    Can the international trade system be a catalyst for reforming fossil fuel subsidies (FFSs) to help relieve the burden on the public purse, reduce local and global air pollution, improve energy security and tackle climate change? 

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  • Blog
    Can Trade Help Deliver the Paris Agreement? Lessons learned from the G20

    Can Trade Help Deliver the Paris Agreement? Lessons learned from the G20

    This year’s G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, saw long and heated discussion on the urgency of delivering the Paris Agreement. 

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  • Blog
    From C20 to the G20: What we need on carbon pricing and fossil fuel subsidy reform

    From C20 to the G20: What we need on carbon pricing and fossil fuel subsidy reform

    IISD’s Global Subsidies Initiative presented at a side event on June 18 at the C20 Summit, a gathering that facilitated exchanges among civil society from G20 countries on the upcoming G20 Summit agenda and beyond.

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  • Report
    At the Crossroads: Balancing the financial and social costs of coal transition in China

    At the Crossroads: Balancing the financial and social costs of coal transition in China

    The global decline of the coal industry has led to job losses and mine closures. As Shanxi in China considers how to create new employment in a coal dependent region we review international experience of the tranistion away from coal. 

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  • Blog
    The True Cost of Coal and Renewables in Indonesia

    The True Cost of Coal and Renewables in Indonesia

    Indonesia is facing an energy crunch as demand for electricity rises across the country. The country is one of the world’s largest coal producers, and is developing plans for an additional 35 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired power stations. Proponents of the development claim that coal is the cheapest source of energy available. Is this really true? 

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  • Report
    Financial Supports for Coal and Renewables in Indonesia

    Financial Supports for Coal and Renewables in Indonesia

    This report shows that the “true cost” of coal, including subsidies and externalities such as GHG emissions and air pollution, is considerably greater than the cost of renewable energy in Indonesia.

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  • Policy Brief
    How to Respond When Prices Go Up: Objectives and options for fuel price adjustments in Indonesia

    How to Respond When Prices Go Up: Objectives and options for fuel price adjustments in Indonesia

    There are options to strengthen the fuel pricing mechanism in Indonesia. This policy brief highlights some options, including price smoothing, ratcheting and installation of price floors and caps, closing with recommendations.

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  • Policy Brief
    Kerosene Subsidies in India: The status quo, challenges and the emerging path to reform

    Kerosene Subsidies in India: The status quo, challenges and the emerging path to reform

    This Policy Brief examines the current system of kerosene subsidies in India, looking at key issues and the impact subsidies have on the distribution of clean, off-grid solar lighting solutions.

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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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  • Video
    Scaling Up Green Energy Finance Swapping Fossil Fuel Subsidies for Sustainable Energy Solutions

    Scaling Up Green Energy Finance Swapping Fossil Fuel Subsidies for Sustainable Energy Solutions

    This video by IISD Reporting Services provides an overview of the Bonn side event hosted by GSI, "Scaling Up Green Energy Finance: Swapping Fossil Fuel Subsidies for Sustainable Energy Solutions.". The event focused on how governments can scale up investments in green energy by “making the switch” from fossil fuel subsidies to sustainable energy subsidies.

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