Publication - Getting on Target: Accelerating energy access through fossil fuel subsidy reform

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Getting on Target: Accelerating energy access through fossil fuel subsidy reform
International Institute for Sustainable Development
Anna Zinecker, Lourdes Sanchez, Shruti Sharma, Christopher Beaton and Laura Merrill
Published in
July 2018
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 calls upon the global community to ensure access to affordable,

reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. Often people assume that fossil fuel subsidies help the poor by making energy more affordable. In fact, most fossil fuel subsidies are not working well for energy access and poverty goals. The annual fossil fuel subsidy expenditure of USD 425 billion could be better invested by governments towards SDG outcomes. This is already recognized by SDG 12, in which the UN General Assembly’s 193 members included the reform of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies as a means of implementation to achieve more sustainable consumption and production. Subsidy savings could be invested to get on target for many development goals—not least, those on energy access. This paper reviews the financial implications of fossil fuel subsidies and takes a closer look at how reforming fossil fuel consumption subsidies could interact with energy access goals.

  1. Global fossil fuel subsidies could finance the global energy access funding gap 7.5 times over.
  2. At their best, untargeted fossil fuel consumption subsidies are an inefficient and unjust tool for improving energy access.
  3. Smart strategies for fossil fuel subsidy reform can boost sustainable energy access.