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Petroleum Product Subsidies: Costly, Inequitable, and Rising

Petroleum product subsidies have again started to rise with the rebound in international prices. This note reviews recent developments in subsidy levels and argues that it is necessary to reform the policy framework for setting petroleum product prices in order to reduce the fiscal burden of these subsidies and to address climate change. In 2003, global consumer subsidies for petroleum products totaled nearly $60 billion. They are projected to reach almost $250 billion in 2010.

Minding the Gap: Achieving Energy Success Via a Neutral Policy Platform

Review of key federal policy trends in the energy sector, identifying the unprecendented scale of interventions, and the inadequate attention being paid to incentive alignment and assessment of leverage points. 

Beginning on slide 6, the presentation provides a specific review of how the government's large scale loan guarantee programs (such as under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the proposed much larger federal "Clean Energy Deployment Administration") are not structured to achieve proper risk management or high success rates.


Data on Coal Industry R&D Spending on CCS

Despite industry advertising to the contrary, an analysis by the Center of American Progress determined that ACCCEs companies spend relatively few dollars conducting research on carbon capture and storage, among the most promising clean coal technology to reduce global warming pollution from coal-fired power plants. This technology would allow power plants to capture 85 percent or more of their carbon dioxide emissions and permanently store them underground in geological formations.

2009 World Nuclear Industry Status Report: Extract

This Bulletin article is an extract from the longer and more detailed analysis prepared for the German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety.  The extract focuses primarily on the industry trends and does not address the subsidy components of the original report.  Readers primarily interested in nuclear subsidies should refer to the full report.

Caught Out... The way forward for fishery subsidies (video)

Short documentary providing useful background on global fishery subsidies and efforts at reform. It looks at the problem of over-fishing and approaches to making fisheries more sustainable, in particular through the reform of fishery subsidies.  In this regard, the ongoing WTO negotiations aimed at improving and clarifying rules on fisheries subsidies are identified as a major opportunity.

Nuclear Power in France: Beyond the Myth

The general message is clear: in France nuclear power works, in 2007 providing 77% of the electricity in the country and 47% of all nuclear electricity in the EU. “The requests by countries that wish to profit from that clean and cheap source of energy are legitimate”, claims French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. But does it really work that well and is it all that clean and cheap in France?

An assessment of the costs of the French nuclear PWR program 1970–2000

The paper reviews the history and the economics of the French PWR program, which is arguably the most successful nuclear-scale up experience in an industrialized country. Key to this success was a unique institutional framework that allowed for centralized decision making, a high degree of standardization, and regulatory stability, all epitomized by comparatively short reactor construction times.

All Risk, No Reward for Taxpayers and Ratepayers: The Economics of Subsidizing the 'Nuclear Renaissance' with LGs and CWIP

As the projected costs of nuclear reactor construction have escalated, demand forelectricity has declined as result of the recession, and the cost of alternatives has plummeted, the nuclear industry has recognized that new nuclear reactors are simply uneconomic and impossible to fund in the capital markets. Seeking to override the verdict of the marketplace, the industry’s lobbying arm has demanded massive increases in subsidies from taxpayers and ratepayers to underwrite the industry. It demands:

New Nuclear Generation: Ratings Pressure Increasing

Of note:  analysis contains a detailed summary of credit downgrades associated with the last waves of nuclear reactor construction.

While nuclear power remains a thorny political and policy issue today, the concept of building new facilities has gradually reawakened in recent years, offering a buffer against foreign energy dependence, unpredictable commodity prices, and heavily polluting fuel sources. As a result, several of the largest U.S. power companies in recent years have announced plans to pursue new nuclear generation.

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