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The good, the bad and the ugly: fossil fuel subsidies at the Paris climate talks

On the whole, human beings want to be good, George Orwell famously quipped. But not too good. And not quite all the time. During the first nine days of the Paris climate talks, a lot of people have said that they want to be good. President Obama wants to be good. “We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change,” he told the UNFCCC plenary last Monday, Read More

Subsidy reform gaining momentum in the UNFCCC framework

Given its long history of grappling with the contentious issue of subsidies, and explicit framework for a system of subsidy disciplines, notifications and dispute resolution, it is not surprising that academics, policymakers and commentators with an interest in fossil fuel subsidies have, over the last decade, spent a great deal of time and intellectual energy examining the WTO/international trade framework to explore opportunities for adopting existing trade measures and mechanisms Read More

UNFCCC COP 20 Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform event – 10 December 2014

On Wednesday December 10, 2014, delegates to the UNFCCC COP 20 discussed fossil fuel subsidy reform at the event, ‘Maximizing Contributions to Emissions Mitigation from Fossil-Fuel Subsidy Reform,’ sponsored by The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform Group. This video by IISD Reporting Services explores how the challenges governments face in minimizing fossil fuel subsidies, and the opportunities promised by reform. Produced Read More

Suzi Kerr Interview – production and consumption subsidies for fossil fuel

Suzi Kerr Is an internationally renowned economist, senior fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and Adjunct Professor at Victoria University. She has published widely on economic and public policy aspects of domestic and international responses to climate change. I spoke with her in Wellington on the 8 September 2014, discussing a variety of issues relating to my research. This clip is a small part of our discussion, focusing Read More

Interview – Peter Hardstaff – WWF-NZ on 2013 report Fossil Fuel Subsidies in NZ: Government Support

In June 2013, WWF-NZ published a briefing document following a multi-year analysis of government support fossil fuel exploration, production and consumption in New Zealand, Fossil Fuel Subsidies in NZ: Government Support. The purpose of the report was to set out what fossil fuel subsidies are, examine how they are being used in New Zealand and then present the case for reform. In September 2014 I met with Peter Hardstaff, Head of Read More

Exploration subsidies: a triple-lose scenario

The UK-based research Institute ODI and US-based organisation Oil Change International have, this month, published a report described in the Guardian as “the most detailed breakdown yet of global fossil fuel subsidies” titled The fossil fuel bailout: G20 subsidies for oil, gas and coal exploration.  Drawing on primary data from the International Energy Agency, and in conjunction with some of the leading international experts on fossil fuel subsidies, the report Read More

Friends with benefits: Fossil fuel subsidies at the COP19 climate talks

A feature of any international negotiation process, and the latest round of international climate talks in Warsaw is no exception, is the entirely predictable – but almost always interesting – tendency for domestic policies and politics to inconveniently crop up at the precise moment that Ministers and diplomats are attempting to nobly position themselves on issues of global significance. Sometimes where especially contentious domestic policies are being implemented, the heat Read More

Fossil fuel subsidies at COP19, Warsaw

In June of last year, remarkably (for a topic usually the domain of economists, policy wonks and academics) the issue of fossil fuel subsidies and subsidy reform lurched to the forefront of civil society discussions and attention at the UN ‘Rio+20’ Earth Summit, aided by a frenzy of activity on social media platforms, as well as some smart positioning by environmental NGOs. The heat and light created during that conference Read More

Energy policy on agenda at G20 Summit

In a few days, world leaders will be meeting in St Petersburg for the annual Leaders’ Summit. Russia took on the presidency of the G20 in December 2012.  The Leaders’ summit represents a significant –  ‘its most important’ – stage in that presidency, a point made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a speech on 28 August. It is inevitable that recent events relating whistle-blower Ed Snowden and a possible Read More