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Explore news, commentary and analysis related to subsidies and sustainable development.

Learning from Leaders: How experts shed light on fossil fuel subsidy reform at COP 22

Cooperative, non-market and country-led—that was the order of the day when it came to fossil fuel subsidy reform (FFSR) at the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) from November 7–19 in Marrakech, Morocco. Across the two weeks, the conference attracted some 22,500 participants, and there were several side events held in English and French on the issue of FFSR (a full listing is available here). Events and discussions covering FFSR focused on early action and implementation of the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies given the current window of opportunity afforded by low oil prices. They addressed lowering the total value of fossil fuel subsidies to consumers, reducing the cost to governments of reform, as well as efforts to phase out upstream subsidies to fossil fuel producers.

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Naked Budgets: A fiscal argument to save the climate

Two news stories this week, emerging from either side of the Atlantic, encapsulate the climate change conundrum. The message coming from hundreds of civil society organizations, scientists and policy-makers gathered at the climate change conference in Marrakech (COP 22) has been the fact that, in order to keep climate change within 2 degrees, three quarters of the known reserves of oil, gas and coal need to stay in the ground.

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Winter Approaches: The Real Test for Ukraine's Energy Subsidy Reforms

In the past few weeks and months, Ukrainian media has been peppered with diametrically opposed pieces of analysis and commentary on energy pricing and energy subsidy reform. On one side, the central government, with the support of international donors, as well as Naftogaz, the national gas supplier, is running an information campaign on why energy subsidy reform is a much-needed move for Ukraine. On the other side, there are continued reports of city councils and populist parties' activists protesting against the “unconstitutional” decision of the central government to increase tariffs for gas and electricity according to an accelerated schedule.

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What Can You Afford in a Year Without Fuel Subsidies? Financing Development with the Reallocation of Indonesia’s Gasoline and Diesel Subsidies

For a long time, the international community has talked about the benefits that can be created by removing wasteful fossil-fuel subsidies and freeing up expenditure for more worthwhile things—but little analysis has looked at how this works out in practice.  In large part, this is because so few countries, including among the G-20, have implemented ambitious and successful reforms.

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Government Subsidies to Fossil Fuels are 22 Times Larger than Government Support to Adaptation on Climate Change

25 May—Bonn, Germany—Over the last two weeks, countries met in Bonn to discuss the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Fiscal instruments—such as fossil fuel subsidy reform, fuel duty and carbon taxation—were raised throughout the meeting, which was supported by the Global Subsidies Initiative of IISD and the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (Friends of FFSR). 

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Feeding the Dragon: Time to embark on wholesale coal subsidy reform in China?

20-21 April—Beijing—Coal remains central to the energy sector in China despite the impact on air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Recognizing the problems associated with coal use, China has embarked on a programme to gradually reduce the role of coal and develop cleaner forms of energy.  A key first step to breaking the hold of coal on the energy sector is to stop providing subsidies to the industry.

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Blog: Talking Energy Subsidy Reform in the Ukrainian Parliament

The roundtable on the theme of “Energy subsidies in Ukraine and progress of reform” was jointly held by the Committee on Fuel and the Energy Complex, Nuclear Policy and Nuclear Safety of the Parliament of Ukraine and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Kyiv on April 25, 2016. This was the second in the series of events linked to the OECD-led project “Inventory of Energy Subsidies in the EU’s Eastern Partnership Countries", supported by the IISD Global Subsidies Initiative (IISD-GSI) and consultants in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine. A draft report on "Energy subsidies in Ukraine" (available in English and Ukranian) was prepared by IISD-GSI to inform the discussion.  

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Economic Instruments, Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Climate Change

16 February 2016—Geneva—The Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) hosted a webinar on the climate change impacts of USD 500 billion of government subsidies to fossil fuels. The webinar was chaired by Peter Wooders, Group Director, Energy, IISD, who outlined the importance of fiscal instruments and mitigation efforts in light of the UNFCCC agreement and the ambitious efforts of the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform in promoting an international communiqué on the issue.

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Blog: Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform: Big at the Climate Talks and in the Agreement?

World leaders hailed that the climate change agreement, agreed on Saturday 12 December, was important and significant in terms of setting the framework for government action in the coming years. In this blog, the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) examines both the text of the agreement as well as the events and activities that took place throughout COP21 in Paris with regards to fossil fuel subsidy reform and the phased removal of around US$600 billion of government subsidies to fossil fuels. In summary, there was much momentum on the side-lines of the negotiating process. The content of the agreement itself, from the perspective of moving the issue of fossil fuel subsidy reform, is also a very positive step in the right direction for setting the framework and rules of the game on climate action.

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