Theresa May, the outgoing UK prime minister, used her final appearance at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan to urge other nations to follow her country's lead in aggressively lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
picture-alliance / AP Photo / NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center
The Group of 20 major economies agreed a deal to reduce marine pollution at a meeting of their environment ministers on Sunday in Karuizawa, Japan.
Stable Energy Supplies<p><br>G20 environment ministers also discussed the issue of energy security in the wake of recent oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman, with Japan's industry minister, Hiroshige Seko, expressing concern over fuel supplies.</p><p>"From a viewpoint of global energy security, it is necessary for the international community to jointly deal with the act," Seko told the meeting, with participating countries agreeing to work together to secure stable energy supplies.</p>
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The world's richest countries continue to subsidize at least $100 billion a year in subsidies for the production and use of coal, oil and gas, despite repeated pledges to phase out fossil fuels by 2025.
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At the conclusion of this year's contentious G-20 summit, the countries released a communique on climate that placed Donald Trump starkly at odds with every other nation present. The communique noted that every country aside from the U.S. recognizes that the Paris agreement is "irreversible," reaffirmed their "strong commitment" and will move "swiftly towards its full implementation in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities."
By Andy Rowell
So the G20 summit is starting in Hamburg in Germany, after a day of angry protests which saw dozens arrested.
Climate action will be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg, with some world leaders planning to confront President Donald Trump about his withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. However, a group of environmental organizations proclaim all this "talk is cheap."
On Wednesday night, Warsaw's highest building displayed a prominent message to POTUS: "No Trump, Yes Paris"
By Alex Doukas
The best available science shows an urgent need to keep global temperature increases below 1.5°C to avoid severe disruptions to people and ecosystems. Recent analysis shows that burning the reserves in already operating oil and gas fields alone, even if coal mining is completely phased out, would take the world beyond 1.5°C of warming. The potential carbon emissions from all fossil fuels in the world's already operating fields and mines would take us well beyond 2°C.
By Nadia Prupis
Finance ministers for the Group of 20 (G20), which comprises the world's biggest economies, dropped a joint statement mentioning funding for the fight against climate change after pressure from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
OMG! Sen. Inhofe: Huge #EPA Budget Cuts Will Prevent Agency From 'Brainwashing Our Kids' https://t.co/RaxEvQTP6V @SierraClub @NRDC @foe_us— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1489698497.0
A G20 official taking part in the annual meeting told Reuters that efforts by this year's German leadership to keep climate funding in the statement had hit a wall.
"Climate change is out for the time being," said the official, who asked to remain anonymous.
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin stressed that the move did not mark the end of the road for the statement. The G20 is scheduled to meet in full in July in Hamburg.
"There can be a way to overcome disagreements today—that is, not writing about it in the communique," Sapin told reporters on Friday. "But not writing about it doesn't mean not talking about it. Not writing about it means that there are difficulties, that there is a disagreement and that we we must work on them in the coming months."
The statement does mention the need to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, but overall the language appears weaker than previous communiques, critics said.
The 23-page draft, obtained by Bloomberg News, outlines how the most prosperous nations can lead by example, cutting their own greenhouse-gas emissions, financing efforts to curb pollution in poorer countries and take other steps to support the landmark Paris climate accord.
"The link between global warming and the organization of financial markets and even the organization of the global economy" is particularly important for France, Sapin said in Baden-Baden. "We'll see whether there'll be agreement with the U.S. administration, but there can be no going back on this for the G-20."
At the last G20 meeting in July 2016, the group's financial leaders urged all countries that had signed onto the landmark Paris climate accord to bring the deal into action as soon as possible. But President Trump, who has referred to global warming as a "Chinese hoax," took office vowing to remove the U.S. from the voluntary agreement.
On Thursday, a day before the finance meeting, the Trump administration unveiled its "skinny budget" proposal, which included a 31 percent cut to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
It's Official: Trump Budget Would Make Deep Cuts to Climate and Science Research https://t.co/OxW4ntYos0 @beyondzeronews @Climate_Rescue— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1489742706.0
As Friends of the Earth senior political strategist Ben Schreiber said at the time, "With this budget, Trump has made it clear that he is prioritizing Big Oil profits over the health of the American people."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
The promises made by the G20 group of the world's leading economies to meet the goals reached in last December's Paris agreement on emissions reduction are nowhere near adequate, according to new analysis by a global consortium.
In a comprehensive assessment, they identify the G20 climate challenge: It needs by 2030 to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by six times more than it has pledged so far.
The analysts' report is released in Beijing today ahead of the G20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou on Sept. 4 and 5.Xinhua
It needs also to move more vigorously to a green, low-carbon economy. And if the G20 goes ahead with its plans for new coal-fueled power plants, that will make it "virtually impossible" to keep global warming below 2 C, the initial target agreed at the Paris climate conference.
It has been produced by Climate Transparency, which describes itself as "an open global consortium with a shared mission to stimulate a 'race to the top' in climate action through enhanced transparency."
Contributors include NewClimate Institute, whose flagship projects include Climate Action Tracker, Germanwatch, which publishes an annual Global Climate Risk Index, the Overseas Development Institute, the Humboldt-Viadrina Governance Platform and a range of other international experts.
Climate change and green finance are high on this year's G20 agenda, so the assessment examines a range of indicators—including investment attractiveness, renewable energy investment, climate policy, the carbon intensity of the energy and electricity sectors of the G20 economies, fossil fuel subsidies and climate finance.
The G20 produces 75 percent of global emissions and its energy-related greenhouse gas emissions rose by 56 percent from 1990-2013. This growth has now stalled, but, as the authors put it, "There is still more brown than green on the Climate Transparency G20 scorecard," although they concede that it is "beginning to head in the right direction."
Alvaro Umaña, Costa Rica's former environment and energy minister, is co-chair of Climate Transparency. He said:
"The G20 has proven that it can be nimble and take action on economic issues, so we are looking to these countries to do the same for the climate.
"Our report shows that while global emissions growth may be coming to an end, there is not yet the necessary dynamic to transform the 'brown' fossil-fuel based economy into the 'green.'
"There remains a tremendous opportunity for the G20 to make this transition and provide the world with enough energy, create affordable energy access for the poorest people and to stimulate economies."
The authors say coal is the main problem with the carbon intensity of the G20's energy sector overall, because of the large number of planned new coal-fired power plants. These would nearly double the bloc's coal capacity, making it almost impossible for the world to keep warming even to 2 C, let alone to 1.5 C as set out in the Paris agreement.
"If G20 countries were to rid themselves of their reliance on coal, this would significantly impact their ability to both increase their climate pledges and get their emissions trajectories on a below 2 C pathway," said Niklas Höhne, a founding partner of NewClimate Institute and special professor of mitigation of greenhouse gases at Wageningen University, Netherlands.
China, India, France, Germany, the U.S. and the UK are rated highest in terms of investment attractiveness in renewable energy, although the ratings of both France and Germany risk dropping.
Jan Burck, team leader on German and EU low-carbon policy at Germanwatch, said: "That China and India are rated the highest is a good signal—these are the economies where the transition will have the biggest impact on the global climate. France's reliance on nuclear is stifling the emergence of wind and solar and Germany's proposed cap on renewable energy is worrying."
Bill Nye: 'There's Enough Wind and Solar' to Power the World - EcoWatch https://t.co/3X0hLJIAgt @DavidSuzukiFDN @revkin— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1472176512.0
Although renewable energy has increased by 18 percent since 2008, a 2 C trajectory means annual G20 country investment in the power sector alone will have to roughly double by 2035 from its 2000-2013 levels.
The report also says fossil fuel subsidies remain high—with subsidies from the group's developed countries all being far greater than the money they have committed to climate finance.
Peter Eigen, co-chair of Climate Transparency, said: "Our assessment shows China is taking more action than many countries. Climate leadership from China at the G20 Summit could help set the world on the right path to a future safe from the worst ravages of climate change."
This article was reposted with permission from our media associate Climate News Network.