G20 commits to energy efficiency

g20WORLD leaders have pledged to address climate change, job growth and strengthening global financial institutions at the two-day G20 summit in Brisbane. The event was the first time leaders had dedicated a session to global energy issues, and came to an agreement about the best way to proceed.

The G20 Energy Efficiency Action Plan identified six areas where global action and collaboration would be of most benefit: heavy vehicles, appliances linked, buildings, industrial processes, more efficient electricity generation and access to finance.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said working together was a “practical way to address climate change” and that energy efficiency made economies more productive and reduced costs for businesses and households. G20 member countries consume more than 80 per cent of the world’s energy supply. In the action plan they agreed that “increased collaboration on energy efficiency can drive economic activity and productivity, strengthen energy security and improve environmental outcomes”.

The G20 also represented 60 per cent of oil and gas production and more than 90 per cent of coal production.

“Consistent with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its agreed outcomes, our actions will support sustainable development, economic growth, and certainty for business and investment,” the G20 promised.The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently revealed that, without action, “climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems”.

“Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, sea level has risen and the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” IPCC Working Group I co-chair Thomas Stocker said. The IPCC found that the earth’s temperature would rise by 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, double the amount governments set in 2009.

Energy leaders from each participating country were asked to meet and report to the G20 in 2015 with options to advance energy collaboration.

The G20’s Action Plan for Voluntary Collaboration on Energy Efficiency confirmed its commitment to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encouraged wasteful consumption. Leaders also agreed to implement
structural reforms to lift growth and private sector activity and create jobs.

A Global Infrastructure Hub will be developed as a network between governments, the private sector, development banks and international organisations to promote collaboration and help finance the markets. The already established Global Infrastructure Initiative will aim to lift investment.

Leaders agreed to more than 800 reforms during the two-day summit.