Gaining Traction: The importance of transparency in accelerating the reform of fossil-fuel subsidies

By Tara Laan on May 3, 2010

Transparency is the cornerstone of holding governments accountable for the ways in which they spend public money. As governments increasingly recognize that subsidizing fossil fuels undermines climate change, energy security and sustainable development objectives, good data and analysis will be vital for prioritizing reform efforts and monitoring their effectiveness. This paper addresses the role that increased transparency could play in fossil-fuel subsidy reform and specifically asks what information and mechanisms are needed to support the G-20 and APEC calls for reform. The paper considers the role of many of the inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations that currently contribute to the field and discusses options for developing a collaborative and comprehensive international system for evaluating and reporting fossil-fuel subsidies, concluding that a two-track approach is necessary: domestic action to improve accounting and reporting, and international action to develop a new data-gathering and management regime.

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IISD, 2010