skip to content

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)

Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies


As part of its strategy to Rewire the Economy, the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) has convened a series of ground-breaking discussions on fossil fuel subsidies. These discussions have involved business leaders, international organisations, national governments and key experts.

CISL has convened a series of discussions that have helped build momentum on the subject of fossil fuel subsidy reform, working with The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) and the Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (FFFSR), which is led by the New Zealand Government.

Most notably in November 2015, in Paris, at the COP21 meeting, business leaders from the CLG, joined Prime Ministers and Presidents of the FFFSR countries and over 500 participants to present of the FFSR Communiqué to the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. The Communiqué was endorsed by over 40 countries and organisations representing hundreds of businesses, as well as international organisations such as the World Bank, OECD and IEA. It catalysed a domino effect of official statements during the entire COP coming from the US, Moroccan and UK governments and many others.

Fossil fuel subsidy reform has the potential to free up wasted resources, improve economic efficiency and make a major contribution to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. For many countries there are real short term drivers for such subsidies, so reform will be dependent on particular national circumstances and changing market conditions. However this is an issue that should see significantly increased progress.


Eliot Whittington

Eliot Whittington, Director, Policy