Development Economics: Regional & Country Studies eJournal | 2019

For Politics, People, or the Planet? The Political Economy of Fossil Fuel Reform, Energy Dependence and Climate Policy in Haiti



The uneven effects of the climate crisis and the need for decarbonization by reducing fossil fuel exploitation and eliminating subsidies create critical trade-offs and tensions for low-income developing countries. Recent reform of fuel consumption subsidies has shown a perennial mitigation bias largely imposed by external forces, in particular multilateral agencies and foreign governments in the context of the Paris accord. Contradictorily, external pressures to reduce subsidies have created competitive markets for multinationals to have a disproportionate role in supplying energy products which foreground the inequities in Haitian society that have spurred social and political conflict. Empirical work on energy-subsidy reform and climate policy do not sufficiently interrogate the interplay and implications of underlying assumptions, power imbalances between domestic and foreign actors, the challenging infrastructural and political context of renewable energy promotion, and immediate concerns to address worsening social conditions and development priorities. Drawing upon these policy debates, this paper considers the recent experience of Haiti to reform its energy subsidies required by the International Monetary Fund to enforce austerity. The paper takes a more integrated and critical approach to these policy discussions in a context of interconnecting political and socio-ecological crises and climate policy in Haiti. By inductively analyzing Haiti’s main climate and energy policies and evidence drawn from field experience, the paper offers a more nuanced understanding of decarbonization and energy debates in this extremely vulnerable context. This approach gives priority to a more dynamic historical analysis of the socio-political context and factors that seek to advance climate justice.

Volume None
Pages None
DOI 10.2139/ssrn.3495582
Language English
Journal Development Economics: Regional & Country Studies eJournal

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