G20 puts climate and economic link in spotlight Media Release

Nov 16, 2014 - 5:00pm

The Climate Institute welcomes the emphasis the G20 communique and weekend events have placed on the urgency of climate change, its economic importance and the need for all nations to act.

“It is refreshing and encouraging that world leaders are highly concerned and keen to emphasise the need to address climate change, especially in the context of economic growth and other key global issues,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

“It rightly spotlights the need for urgency to act on one of the world's biggest challenges, addressing climate change, and is boosted by announcements from the US, China, and others in recent days.”

“The final G20 communique encouraged countries to announce their post 2020 targets in the next couple of months, as the world moves towards negotiating the next global agreement in Paris in December 2015. Australia should work within that timeline.”

Just days ago, the US said that it will cut emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025. China has pledged to peak emissions around 2030, though it will be aiming to achieve this sooner. Weeks prior, the European Union said that it will cut carbon pollution by at least 40 per cent and boost renewable energy to 27 per cent of total energy use.

Matching the US target, for instance, would mean that Australia has to have a 2025 target of 30 per cent below 2000 levels.

Over the weekend the US also announced a US$3 billion pledged towards the Green Climate Fund, a UN body that aims to help developing countries adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Pledges towards the Fund will play a significant part towards countries agreeing on a new global framework in Paris next year. German, France, Japan, and Indonesia also made pledges to the Fund. The final communique reaffirmed support for climate financing.

“As one of the world's wealthiest nations, and in a regional very vulnerable to climate impacts, it is important that Australia pull its weight and make a contribution to the Green Climate Fund and climate finance initiatives."

“While countries move forward with ambitious post 2020 emissions reduction targets, and make climate finance pledges, we are not pulling our weight."

"China and the US working together to curb carbon pollution, and the emphasis on climate change within the context of a global economic discussion platform such as the G20, are hugely important developments. They send the message that cleaning up the global economy is a priority and that economic opportunities of this century lie in climate solutions like renewable energy.”

“These developments are reshaping international and economic alignments. They highlight the inadequacy of the Emissions Reduction Fund as a primary pollution policy.”

“It is in Australia's national interest to address climate change adequately, and to contribute fairly to international efforts, and even reap benefits from developing clean energy and other low carbon solutions.”

“The G20’s focus on climate change and energy issues highlighted the deeply connected economic importance of climate action – hopefully this legacy will grow stronger with the Australian Government and the debate here at home,” concluded Connor.

For more information
Kristina Stefanova, Communications Director, The Climate Institute, 02 8239 6299

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