As debates concerning global sustainable development goals intensify, there is one policy that seems to unite all development agencies: the reduction or elimination of energy subsidies – especially those for fossil fuels. It has been estimated that the world’s governments spend approximately half a trillion United States dollars (US$) each year on subsidizing fossil fuels. This subsidy – of commodities that appear to be the major cause of climate change – has recently been described as a reckless use of public funds. Although many governments would like to reduce fuel subsidies, such subsidies are so popular with the general public, that their reduction can cause civil unrest – as already seen in Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria. (Editorial)