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Effect of government subsidies for upstream oil infrastructure on U.S. oil production and global CO2 emissions

The United States now produces as much crude oil as ever – over 3.4 billion barrels in 2015, just shy of the 3.5 billion record set in 1970. Indeed, the U.S. has become the world’s No. 1 oil and gas producer. The oil production boom has been aided by tax provisions and other subsidies that support private investment in infrastructure for oil exploration and development. Federal tax preferences, for example, enable oil and gas producers to deduct capital expenditures faster, or at greater levels, than standard tax accounting rules typically allow, boosting investment returns.

Workshop Report: Reforming Fossil Fuel Subsidies through the WTO and International Trade Agreements

Existing trade agreements have strict rules, some enforcement mechanisms, and the majority of the world's nations already as signatories.  They offer a potentially powerful leverage point to address a wide array of subsidies to energy, including those flowing to fossil fuels.  In practice, the trade agreements have not yet proven effective at accelerating reform -- though the potential is what makes this workshop and its associated write-up useful to include in the Earth Track subsidy library.  Below is the description from the organizers:

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The Political Economy of Energy Subsidy Reform

This book proposes a simple framework for understanding the political economy of subsidy reform and applies it to four in-depth country studies covering more than 30 distinct episodes of reform. Five key lessons emerge. First, energy subsidies often follow a life cycle, beginning as a way to stabilize prices and reduce exposure to price volatility for low-income consumers. However, as they grow in size and political power, they become entrenched. Second, subsidy reform strategies vary because the underlying political economy problems vary.

Reviewing, Reforming, and Rethinking Global Energy Subsidies: Towards a Political Economy Research Agenda

This article provides a review of global energy subsidies—of definitions and estimation techniques, their type and scope, their drawbacks, and effective ways to reform them. Based on an assessment of both policy reports and peer-reviewed studies, this article presents evidence that energy subsidies could reach into the trillions of dollars each year. It also highlights how most subsidies appear to offer net costs to society, rather than benefits, in the form of government deficits, increased waste, shortages of energy fuels, and aggravated environmental impacts, among others.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2016

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2016 (WNISR) provides a comprehensive overview of nuclear power plant data, including information on operation, production and construction. The WNISR assesses the status of new-build programs in current nuclear countries as well as in potential newcomer countries. The WNISR2016 edition includes again an assessment of the financial status of many of the biggest industrial players in the sector. This edition also provides a Chernobyl Status Report, 30 years after the accident that led to the contamination of a large part of Europe.

Self-Bonding in an Era of Coal Bankruptcy: Recommendations for Reform

Federal law requires coal companies to reclaim and restore land and water resources that have been degraded by mining. But at many sites, reclamation occurs slowly, if it all. Mining companies are required to post performance bonds to ensure the successful completion of reclamation efforts should they become insolvent, but regulators have discretion to accept “self-bonds,” which allow many companies to operate without posting any surety or collateral.

Cost-Efficient Greenhouse Gas Reductions: Nuclear is No Silver Bullet

Although nuclear power is a source of low carbon electricity, it is by no means a clear solution to the challenge we face in reducting greenhouse gas emissions.  This presentation discusses common metrics to assess the most cost-efficient source of ghg emissions and reviews multiple studies indicating that new reactors are an expensive option relative to alternatives, and getting more so each year.  Cost escalation, lengthening delivery times on reactor projects, and oft-ignored concerns about proliferation create significant headwinds for the nuclear pathway.  In contrast, competitors cont

The Trade Effects of Phasing Out Fossil-Fuel Consumption Subsidies

This report draws on previous OECD work to assess the impact on international trade of phasing out fossil fuel consumption subsidies provided mainly by developing and emerging economies. The analysis employed the OECD’s ENV-Linkages General-Equilibrium model and used the IEA’s estimates of consumer subsidies, which measure the gap existing between the domestic prices of fossil fuels and an international reference benchmark.

Green Scissors: Cutting Wasteful and Environmentally Harmful Spending, 2011

This year's Green Scissors report offers lawmakers and the public a starting place for spending reductions, including cuts to discretionary, mandatory and tax spending that also increase environmental protection. Perhaps even more importantly, Green Scissors 2011 offers a roadmap for how Congress can bridge the gap between ideologically diverse perspectives to begin moving towards deficit reduction in a productive fashion.

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