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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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  • Report
    Une exploration des impacts potentiels des règles de l'OMC sur les subventions à la pêche : Le cas de la pêcherie de sardinelles en Afrique de l'Ouest

    Une exploration des impacts potentiels des règles de l'OMC sur les subventions à la pêche : Le cas de la pêcherie de sardinelles en Afrique de l'Ouest

    Cette étude de cas examine la manière dont de nouvelles règles de l’Organisation mondiale du commerce sur les subventions à la pêche pourraient concrètement affecter la pêcherie de sardinelles au large des côtes ouest-africaines.

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  • Report
    Locked In and Losing Out: British Columbia’s fossil fuel subsidies

    Locked In and Losing Out: British Columbia’s fossil fuel subsidies

    British Columbia's fossil fuel subsidies reached CAD 830 million in 2017–2018, and new subsidies continue to be introduced. This report identifies provincial subsidies and calls on the province to undertake subsidy reform.

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  • Blog
    How Reforming Fossil Fuel Subsidies Can Go Wrong: A lesson from Ecuador

    How Reforming Fossil Fuel Subsidies Can Go Wrong: A lesson from Ecuador

    There must be a foundation of trust, along with a clear plan to protect vulnerable segments of the population and, ideally, to phase in the reforms gradually.

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  • Report
    Energy Transition in Support of the Low-Carbon Development Initiative in Indonesia: Transport sector

    Energy Transition in Support of the Low-Carbon Development Initiative in Indonesia: Transport sector

    Implementing an effective pricing mechanism is necessary for Indonesia to complete its landmark fuel subsidy reforms and prevent backsliding into expensive subsidy policies. The current pricing regime aims to deliver a public service but inadvertently contributes major social costs: air pollution and associated illness, greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion.

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  • Report
    Burning Problems, Inspiring Solutions: Sharing lessons on action against tobacco and fossil fuels

    Burning Problems, Inspiring Solutions: Sharing lessons on action against tobacco and fossil fuels

    This report seeks to drive action on air pollution and climate change through the regulation of fossil fuels, considering society's experience with tobacco control.

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  • Report
    Submission to Environment and Climate Change Canada's Consultation on Non-Tax Fossil Fuel Subsidies

    Submission to Environment and Climate Change Canada's Consultation on Non-Tax Fossil Fuel Subsidies

    As part the G20 peer review of fossil fuel subsidies, Environment and Climate Change Canada opened a consultation on their review of non-tax subsidies. IISD developed this written submission in response.

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  • Report
    Mapping Policy for Solar Irrigation Across the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus in India

    Mapping Policy for Solar Irrigation Across the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus in India

    How are India's off-grid solar pump policies affecting the water–energy–food nexus? This paper maps out impacts and the key policies that are driving them.

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  • Briefing Note
    India's Energy Transition: The Cost of Meeting Air Pollution Standards in the Coal-fired Electricity Sector

    India's Energy Transition: The Cost of Meeting Air Pollution Standards in the Coal-fired Electricity Sector

    It will cost up to INR 86,135 crore (USD 12 billion) to comply with India's rules for air pollution control technology in the current fleet of coal power plants, increasing the average cost of electricity by 9–21 per cent per kWh. The Ministry of Power must take a strict position to ensure compliance.

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  • Report
    The (Public) Cost of Pollution: Ontario's fossil fuel subsidies

    The (Public) Cost of Pollution: Ontario's fossil fuel subsidies

    This report provides an inventory of fossil fuel subsidies in Ontario and provides recommendations for provincial subsidy reform.

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