Contributed by:
Chris Charles
Programme Administrator
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

GSI: Mapping the Characteristics of Producer Subsidies: A review of pilot country studies

Prepared by the Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) in conjunction with Earth Track, this study helps increase the body of knowledge about the data sources that hold information on subsidies to fossil-fuel producers, by reviewing available data in a series of countries, diverse in terms of their level of data transparency, governance systems, energy markets and stages of economic development.

Using a detailed matrix setting out the main subsidy policies, the type of fuel, and their main data sources, pilot studies have been completed for China, Germany, Indonesia and the United States. The project team for each country evaluated commonly referenced data sources, such as databases collected by international bodies, and summarized how each source gathers information, including an assessment of their strengths and limitations.

The study found that fossil-fuel producers are supported by a multitude of policies, ranging from direct payments to preferential access to government-owned lands. While direct payments were relatively easy to identify in government budget reporting, data was not always provided at a sufficient level of disaggregation to allow proper attribution to beneficiaries. Pilot studies also found that information on these support measures was held by a variety of government ministries and non-governmental organizations.

The pilot studies provide a road map and starting point for more in-depth country case studies needed to fully quantify the extent of fossil-fuel subsidies in each country, as in some areas, the financial value of producer subsidy programs can only be estimated more precisely by developing more investigative methods and conducting country-specific studies. The GSI has commissioned two such studies into producer subsidies in Indonesia and Canada, which will become available during the second half of 2010.

Read more here on other reports published.