Climate and the G20 summit: some progress in greening economies, but more needs to be done

Climate and the G20 summit: some progress in greening economies, but more needs to be done

G20 leaders will meet in Hamburg for their annual meeting. One likely result is another climate change dispute between the host government, Germany and US President Donald Trump.

Like the Chinese last year, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel has given climate priority to the G-20 agenda, just as the US government reinforces many of the environmental policies.

President Trump announced that he wanted his country to leave the Paris agreement, saying that the international agreement is unfair to the United States.

The definition of Trump – “America First” – is probably not mutually acceptable to most other countries. But countries are reluctant to broaden their ambitions unless they are convinced that others are doing their fair share.

To answer this question, we have grouped our third annual inventory of its progress into a report – coordinated by the global climate consortium Transparency – that determines how the G20 moves from fossil fuels to a low carbon economy.

The report, compiled with 13 partners from 11 countries, is based on a wide range of information published in four main areas (emissions, policy performance, finance and decarbonization) and presents it in a concise manner, allowing a comparison between these 20 countries that spend “Brown” clean “green”.

Spitting steam chimneys at an industrial complex in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo.
The G20 is crucial to international action on climate change. In general, Member States account for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and in 2014 accounted for around 82% of global carbon dioxide emissions linked to energy.

All member countries have signed the 2015 Paris Agreement with their long-term temperature targets to keep global warming below 2 ° C, ideally limiting the 1.5 ° C.

The G-20 has also proved to be an agile political forum that can produce soft policy development. And there are fewer problems than in the past that the group would seek to replace the multilateral process.

This means that these governments must show the way to the decarbonization of their economies and to build a low carbon future.

According to the report on climate transparency, the G-20 countries use their energy and the use of cleaner energy sources more effectively. Their economies have also increased, demonstrating that economic growth can be decoupled from greenhouse gas emissions.

So we started to see a transition from brown to green. However, the report also reveals that the transition is too slow; It does not go deep enough to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

In half of the G20 countries, greenhouse gas per capita will increase further. One notable exception is Japan, where emissions per person overlap.

Canada has the highest per capita energy consumption, followed by Saudi Arabia, Australia and the United States.

India, Indonesia and South Africa have a low per capita energy consumption (per capita rate in India is one-eighth that of Canada). Poverty in these countries can only be addressed if people have access to more energy.

Today, renewable energy is increasingly the cheapest option. However, we have found that many G20 countries gather their growing energy needs with coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

According to the Climate Action Tracker, which monitors progress towards the temperature targets of the Paris Accord, coal must be phased out worldwide by 2050 at the latest.

Between 2013 and 2014, public financial institutions in the G20 countries – including national and international development banks, majority-owned banks and export credit agencies – spent an average of nearly 88 billion coal a year, oil And gas.

However, many of the G20 countries are trying to eliminate coal, including Canada, France and the United Kingdom, all of which have a plan to do so.

Germany, Italy and Mexico, too, are considering reducing their coal consumption or have taken significant steps to do so. India and China remain heavily dependent on coal, but recently they have closed and reduced plans for a number of coal plants.

The countries at the bottom of the ranking are Japan, Indonesia and Turkey, all of which have significant coal and Australian construction plans.

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