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A time-lapse shot of a busy urban area in China.

Energy Subsidies in China

The GSI’s program of work in China undertakes research and policy engagement on subsidies for fuel consumers, fuel producers and renewable energy.


  • Reduce expenditure on fossil fuel subsidies that promote unsustainable environmental and social impacts
  • Reform subsidies to level the playing field for clean energy
  • Improve the fair social distribution of subsidy expenditure

In carrying forward this work, the Global Subsidies Initiative has collaborated with a number of organizations, including the Energy Research Institute (ERI), China National Renewable Energy Centre (CNREC) and the Energy Foundation China (EF China).

FAQ: China

China is the world’s most populous country and in 2016, the world’s #1 in coal consumption and production; # 2 in the consumption and production of oil products; and #3 in natural gas consumption. Energy is a key issue in China’s policies, and government support has played an important role steering the development of the energy sector. China is determined to shift to a low-carbon economy: the country has committed to reach the peak of GHG emissions around 2030 and  “to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” as both a G-20 and APEC member.

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Press Release: New report reveals BRICS governments’ revenues from fossil fuels

Geneva, November 13, 2019 – As the BRICS leaders’ summit starts in Brazil, a new report is the first of its kind to bring together data on both revenues and subsidies related to fossil fuels in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Beyond Fossil Fuels: Fiscal Transition in BRICS, from the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Leave it in the

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Chinese Coal Miners Will Need 2.3 Million New Jobs by 2020: Cutbacks in Mines

Between 2008 and 2010 the government identified 69 “resource depleted cities” of which 19 – more than one quarter – are in the northeastern provinces of Jilin, Liaoning and Heilongjiang. Once the heart of China’s heavy industry, the country’s northeast is in trouble; its oil fields and steel mills are struggling, and its coal mining sector is in chronic decline.

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Reports: At the Crossroads: Balancing the financial and social costs of coal transition in China

The boom and eventual bust of resource-dependent regions has played out across the world many times over the last 50 years. As extractive industries go into decline due to resource exhaustion, competition from elsewhere or changing consumption of energy, demands are made for subsidies to revive the industry and maintain jobs. Concurrently, policy-makers, realizing that the decline of a resource extraction industry will cause social and economic hardship, begin the search for new industries to replace lost jobs and maintain economic development.

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Clearing the air in India and China

Poor air quality has become a major political concern in both countries. In the 1990s, India had some success in improving air quality in Delhi through higher emissions standards for vehicles. But in the 21st century, air quality in India nationwide has continued to deteriorate, and some reports now suggest that it is discernibly worse than in China.

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