The removal of fossil fuel subsidies (FFS) would bring about many important and positive effects, among them helping to reduce air pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change and improving government’s finances. It could also reduce distortions affecting trade in not only the subsidized products, such as coal, fuel oil and natural gas, but also in goods that compete with fossil fuels, such as wind turbines and solar photovoltaic panels.
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.
Keynote presentation at the OECD's expert workshop on estimating subsidies to fossil fuels, held in November 2010.
Inappropriate subsidies contribute to widespread overfishing and to the distortion of trade in fisheries products. Current negotiations in the World Trade organization aim to address this problem through binding new subsidies rules. Meanwhile, many governments are working to reform their domestic fisheries subsidies programmes. But some fisheries subsidies will undoubtedly continue to be used for years to come. In this context, a knowledge of the policies and practices that can reduce the risks associated with these subsidies is critically important.