Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform
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Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform

An International Law Response

Vernon J.C. Rive

This much-needed book provides an empirically-grounded, and theoretically informed account of international law sources, mechanisms, initiatives and institutions which address and affect the practice of subsidising fossil fuel consumption and production. Drawing on recent scholarship on emerging international governance mechanisms, ‘informal’ international law-making and regime interaction, it offers suggestions, and critiques suggestions of others, for how the international law framework could be employed more effectively and appropriately to respond to environmentally and fiscally harmful fossil fuel subsidies.
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Chapter 2: Historical and global overview of fossil fuel subsidies

Vernon J.C. Rive


This chapter provides a representative overview of the history, nature, scale and distribution of fossil fuel subsidies globally. Selective commentary focusing on the history of government support for the fossil fuel industry in Great Britain and the United States provides context for discussion on the role of developed countries and international positioning on fossil fuel subsidy reform elsewhere in the book. High-level conceptual and methodological approaches to defining and measuring fossil fuel subsidies are then addressed, covering three approaches: the 'price gap' method often associated with the International Energy Agency; the 'inventory' method associated with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; and the 'unpriced externalities' method associated with the International Monetary Fund. The chapter concludes with a snapshot of a variety of global estimates of fossil fuel subsidies, with particular commentary on consumption subsidies in non-OECD countries and a brief overview of contrasting estimates of subsidies for renewable energy.

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