The practice of subsidizing fossil fuels is increasingly recognized as being incompatible with efforts needed to address climate change and to move toward a path of sustainable development. Removing subsidies for fossil fuels has further benefits at the national level; notably, reduced government spending on fossil fuels can help relieve fiscal burdens during times of economic crisis and free up resources for spending on other priorities. While many of the actions will be at national level, international collaboration and agreement can support national efforts with research and technical assistance, sharing of information and best practice, establishment of rules, financial support, and through increased accountability.
But where should this international collaboration and agreement be housed?
This paper considers the roles of the WTO, the UNFCCC, other inter-governmental organizations and non-government organizations in preparing the way for an international agreement on fossil-fuel subsidy reform. It would not have been possible without the generous support of the Economics and Trade Branch of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).