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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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  • Guidebook
    A Guidebook to Reviews of Fossil Fuel Subsidies: From self-reports to peer learning

    A Guidebook to Reviews of Fossil Fuel Subsidies: From self-reports to peer learning

    This guidebook provides a step-by-step approach to government reviews of fossil fuel subsidies. The guidebook covers the design of reviews, identification, measurement and evaluation of subsidies, via country case studies and practical tools, as a first step towards transparency and reform.

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  • Policy Brief
    Kerosene to Solar Swap Policy Brief 3: Sustainable Lighting Solutions for Rural Homes in India

    Kerosene to Solar Swap Policy Brief 3: Sustainable Lighting Solutions for Rural Homes in India

    This policy brief analyzes the current policy environment governing kerosene and off-grid solar use. It sets out a suite of detailed policy interventions that can be implemented to achieve a systemic transition from kerosene to solar for lighting in rural India.

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  • Policy Brief
    Kerosene to Solar Swap Policy Brief 2: Building a Market for Off Grid Solar Lighting

    Kerosene to Solar Swap Policy Brief 2: Building a Market for Off Grid Solar Lighting

    This policy brief looks at the current market situation for off-grid solar technologies in India and the current barriers to an enabling business environment for solar.

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  • Policy Brief
    Kerosene to Solar Swap Policy Brief 1: Kerosene Subsidies in India: The status quo, challenges and the emerging path to reform

    Kerosene to Solar Swap Policy Brief 1: 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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  • 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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