We Ask Your Government! how much its fossil-fuel subsidies cost

By Tara Laan on April 7, 2011

The International Budget Partnership (IBP) commenced a project in 2010 that aimed to find out how well governments respond to legitimate requests from civil society for information on specific areas of public expenditure.

The Ask Your Government! (AYG) How Much it is Spending on Development Commitments initiative posed six budget-related questions to 80 governments. The Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) developed one of those questions: "What was the total amount actually incurred during the past three fiscal years on subsidies for oil, gas and coal production and consumption?"The results illustrate the opacity of fossil-fuel subsidy policies and the lack of information about how governments are spending public money. This brief analyzes the findings of the survey and provides insightful anecdotes from the surveyors that demonstrate the challenges of accessing information on subsidy expenditure; and concludes with recommendations for how policy-makers can improve the availability and quality of information about subsidies.

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IISD, GSI, 2011