Energy

Subsidies to Energy: A Review of Current Estimates and Estimation Challenges

Presentation at a meeting sponsored by the Energy Research Institute of China's National Development and Reform Commission and the World Bank in Beijing, China.  The presentation reviews existing estimates of global subsidies to energy, including their magnitude, differences in estimation methods and assumptions, reporting trends, and emerging issues. 

We are grateful to the World Bank for making a Mandarin version of this presentation available as well.

Navigating the Perils of Energy Subsidy Reform in Exporting Countries

Fossil fuel subsidies have allowed energy exporting countries to distribute resource revenue, bolstering legitimacy for governments, many of which are not democratically elected. But subsidy benefits are dwarfed by the harmful consequences of encouraging uneconomic use of energy. Now, with consumption posing a threat to long-term exports, governments face a heightened need to raise prices that have come to be viewed as entitlements.

Ten Most Distortionary Energy Subsidies - Update (long version)

Complex security, environmental, and economic trade-offs remain the norm for the energy sector.   Government intervention is also the norm, and too often involves a torrent of energy plans, white-papers, and legislation.  In an ideal world, government policies should work in tandem with market forces to achieve an adequate energy supply mix that is cleaner and more diverse than what preceded it.  These synergies do not currently exist.  Instead, there are thousands of government energy market interventions in place around the world - many of which act counter to stated energy securi

Ten Most Distortionary Energy Subsidies - Update (short version)

Complex security, environmental, and economic trade-offs remain the norm for the energy sector.   Government intervention is also the norm, and too often involves a torrent of energy plans, white-papers, and legislation.  In an ideal world, government policies should work in tandem with market forces to achieve an adequate energy supply mix that is cleaner and more diverse than what preceded it.  These synergies do not currently exist.  Instead, there are thousands of government energy market interventions in place around the world - many of which act counter to stated energy security, dive

Time to change the game: Fossil fuel subsidies and climate

This report documents the scale of fossil fuel subsidies and sets out a practical agenda for their elimination in the context of the global goal of tackling climate change. It spells out the real costs of fossil fuel subsidies within the top developed-country emitters (the E11), the G20, and more broadly across developing countries, and outlines ways to achieve their global phase-out by 2025.

Table 2: Subsidy Definitions Vary by Country, Lead to Gaps in Reporting and Reform Commitments

Table summarizing the ways G20 member countries have defined reportable subsidies to fossil fuels, and the gaps these definitions open up to missing entire classes of government support to the fossil fuels sector.  The table has been extracted from Phasing Out Fossil-Fuel Subsidies in the G20:  A Progress Update.  

Green Scissors 2012: Cutting Wasteful and Environmentally Harmful Spending

This report is the latest of a string of assessments produced over the past 18 years to identify and quantify federal subsidies that harm the environment as well as waste prodigious amounts of money.  The exact coalition producing the reports varies a bit year-to-year, but the Green Scissors Campaign has always been a collaboration between budget and environmental groups aimed at eliminating wasteful spending that is harmful to the environment.

Cost of Subsidizing Fossil Fuels Is High, but Cutting Them Is Tough

...Moreover, citizens and companies that rely on fossil fuels usually do not pay the full cost of resulting environmental  problems like oil spills, sludge from coal mines and greenhouse gases, and for health problems from polluted air.

Estimates of the cost of these effects — or “externalities” in the ungainly jargon of economists — vary.

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