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Fossil Fuel to Clean Energy Subsidy Swaps: How to pay for an energy revolution

Reallocating some of the savings from fossil fuel subsidy reform to fund the clean energy transition can bring in economic, social and environmental benefits.

Key Messages

  • This report presents the case for a "subsidy swap"—reallocating some of the savings from fossil fuel subsidy reform to fund the clean energy transition.

  • Fossil fuel to clean energy subsidy swaps are already taking place. Globally, fossil fuel subsidies have fallen and global investments in renewable energy have exceeded investments in fossil fuels since 2008. Renewable global installed capacity additions have exceeded fossil fuel generation since 2014.

  • The report shares examples of four countries—India, Indonesia, Zambia and Morocco—that have already been taking concrete action and leading the way by implementing fossil fuel to clean energy swaps. Sharing these experiences is a key tool to show how swaps can be a feasible option for other countries.


When governments reform fossil fuel subsidies, there are many competing demands for how to reallocate resources, including spending on public health, education and social protection. This report makes the case for placing the promotion of clean energy alongside these other priorities and describes the economic, social and environmental benefits that such a move would bring, through a “subsidy swap.” The report sets out the international context of subsidy swaps; summarizes notable country experiences with swaps in India, Indonesia, Zambia and Morocco; and calls for policy-makers to include swaps as part of their fossil fuel subsidy reform implementation strategies.