There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for fossil-fuel subsidy reform-but there are a set of planning stages that are generic, along with many common issues, challenges and potential solutions. The Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has published a guidebook on how governments can formulate an effective reform strategy that will fit their individual objectives and circumstances. It is aimed at policy-makers in Southeast Asia, but much of its guidance could apply to any region.
In advance of the G20 meeting in Los Gatos, Mexico this past June, Earth Track and Oil Change International did a detailed review of how the member countries were doing in meeting their 2009 commitments to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. The resulting report, Phasing Out Fossil-Fuel Subsidies in the G20: A Progress Update, summarizes the limited progress that has been made to date. Our initial report, released in 2010, can be found
A central thrust in many of the energy-related legislative initiatives over the past few years has been a growing role for the federal government in funding and financing infrastructure for favored fuels. Some lessons from both energy and non-energy sectors highlight the problems with this approach:
1) Inconsistent application of even rational government constraints (AIG executive pay).
Detailed look at the hierarchy of subsidies within the US federal government, using the analogy of Dante's Inferno. A great summary when the article first appeared nearly 15 years ago, the core issues sadly remain as central challenges today.
Examines the political drivers behind subsidy proliferation in the US federal system and a variety of options to improve transparency and contestability of the subsidy programs. Paper contains ballpark values for US federal subsidies by energy type, based on an update of US energy subsidy estimates for 2003 prepared for the National Commission on Energy Policy. Chapter published in Subsidy Reform and Sustainable Development: Political Economy Aspects, (OECD: Paris, France, 2007).