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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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  • Energy Efficiency and Subsidy Reform: A virtuous circle

    Energy challenges are similar across the world. Fortunately, so are the solutions. In many cases, subsidy reform and energy efficiency are closely linked and mutually supportive.

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

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

    A “subsidy swap”—reallocating some of the savings from fossil fuel subsidy reform to fund the clean energy transition—can bring in economic, social and environmental benefits.

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  • Blog
    Canada Slow to Come Clean on Removing Fossil Fuel Subsidies

    Canada Slow to Come Clean on Removing Fossil Fuel Subsidies

    Without adequately addressing subsidies, the federal government undermines benefits from its own commendable carbon pricing policies.

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  • Blog
    Overfishing Calls for Concrete Actions

    Overfishing Calls for Concrete Actions

    Our oceans and fish stocks—and the populations that depend on them—all suffer from the consequences of overfishing. We share a glimpse of the current WTO push to end harmful fisheries subsidies by 2020.

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  • Blog
    One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Fossil fuel subsidies and reform on the rise

    One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Fossil fuel subsidies and reform on the rise

    Between 2015 and 2018, 50 countries undertook some level of fossil fuel subsidy reform. That doesn't mean consumer subsidies are decreasing, however.

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  • Blog
    What We Can Measure, We Can Manage: Methodology for global fossil fuel subsidy reporting launched

    What We Can Measure, We Can Manage: Methodology for global fossil fuel subsidy reporting launched

    A new report provides the first internationally agreed upon methodology to help countries increase transparency on fossil fuel subsidies.

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  • Report
    Measuring Fossil Fuel Subsidies in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals

    Measuring Fossil Fuel Subsidies in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals

    This report provides methodological guidance for measuring fossil fuel subsidies in the context of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 12.c.1: “Amount of fossil fuel subsidies per unit of GDP (production and consumption)”.

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  • Policy Brief
    Indonesia's Coal Price Cap: A barrier to renewable energy deployment

    Indonesia's Coal Price Cap: A barrier to renewable energy deployment

    Indonesia's coal price cap encourages the consumption of coal while slowing the integration of renewable energy into the country's power grid.

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  • Report
    Policy Approaches for a Kerosene to Solar Subsidy Swap in India

    Policy Approaches for a Kerosene to Solar Subsidy Swap in India

    India could save money and reduce indoor air pollution by switching kerosene subsidies to solar.

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