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EVENT: Could cutting fossil fuel subsidies curb climate change – and poverty?

Follow the lively online discussion we had today

Hosted by Thomson Reuters Foundation and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN)

Please contribute your comments and questions at the live blog or via Twitter hashtag #cutsubsidies for our expert panel:

  • Carlo Sdralevich, deputy division chief, Middle East and Central Asia Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • Shelagh Whitley, research fellow, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
  • Sanjay Vashist, director, Climate Action Network South Asia
  • Armsfree Onomo, project manager for civic participation, Heinrich Boell Foundation-Abuja, Nigeria

Are fossil fuel subsidies undermining progress toward a greener, more climate-resilient global economy – and one that more effectively fights poverty?

Governments each year spend around half a trillion dollars on fossil fuel subsidies – a huge expense that pulls investment away from other budget priorities that might more directly help the poor, including education, healthcare and infrastructure. Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Venezuela each spend at least twice as much on fossil fuel subsidies as on public health, and studies show the subsidies disproportionately benefit the rich around the world, as well as making it harder for renewable energy to find support and funding.

Is it time to reduce or eliminate them? How might that happen, and how could the political obstacles be overcome? What difference could lower fossil fuel subsidies make to poverty levels? Our experts take your questions.



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