18 November 2014
G20 Addresses Growth, Energy, Climate Change, Trade and Ebola
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

Group of Twenty (G20) leaders have released a communiqué following the conclusion of the G20 Leaders Summit, which drew approximately 4,000 delegates and 3,000 media representatives, and provided an opportunity for leaders to discuss global economic issues and use “their collective power to improve people's lives.” The communiqué outlines G20 policy discussions and commitments.

G20AUSTRALIA16 November 2014: Group of Twenty (G20) leaders have released a communiqué following the conclusion of the G20 Leaders Summit. The event drew approximately 4,000 delegates and 3,000 media representatives, and provided an opportunity for leaders to discuss global economic issues and use “their collective power to improve people’s lives.” The communiqué outlines G20 policy discussions and commitments.

On energy, the leaders emphasize increased collaboration on energy as a priority, endorse the G20 Principles on Energy Collaboration, and call on energy ministers to meet and report, in 2015, on options to take this work forward. The communiqué states that improving energy efficiency is a cost-effective way to address the rising demands of sustainable growth and development, as well as energy access and security, while reducing costs for businesses and households. Leaders agree to an Action Plan for Voluntary Collaboration on Energy Efficiency, including new work on: vehicular efficiency and emissions performance; networked devices; buildings; industrial processes; electricity generation; and financing for energy efficiency. The leaders reaffirm their commitment to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while recognizing the need to support the poor.

On climate, leaders support strong and effective action to address climate change, stating they will work together to adopt a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the UNFCCC that is applicable to all at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris, France, in 2015. They encourage Parties that are able to do so to communicate their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) well in advance of COP 21, and reaffirm support for mobilizing finance for adaptation and mitigation, such as through the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

On infrastructure, the communiqué discusses the Global Infrastructure Initiative, a multi-year work programme to increase public and private infrastructure investment. Leaders agree to establish a Global Infrastructure Hub to support implementation of the initiative, and welcome the launch of the World Bank Group’s Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF). A statement released by the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) notes that the GIF will provide an open global platform for greater collaboration in the preparation and structuring of complex infrastructure projects. The statement also: expresses readiness to bring experiences and skills to the G20’s work on infrastructure and to support the proposed Global Infrastructure Hub; states that MDBs look forward to partnering with the G20 to convene events to share knowledge and develop practical tools to assist infrastructure policymakers and practitioners; and offers to host a first meeting on infrastructure issues in early 2015.

The communiqué highlights the G20 Food Security and Nutrition Framework, which aims to: strengthen growth by increasing investment in food systems; raise productivity to expand food supply; and increase incomes and quality jobs. The communiqué also addresses, inter alia: building a stronger, more resilient global economy; strengthening global institutions; the Ebola outbreak; trade; and acting together to lift growth and create jobs.

During a press briefing, Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott noted that, for the first time, G20 leaders held a session dedicated to global energy issues and endorsed “landmark energy principles” to ensure access to affordable and reliable energy for all. He explained that these principles include: developing more inclusive energy institutions in emerging and developing economies; strengthening energy markets; enhancing energy security; and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. He underlined that energy is now “at the heart of the G20’s agenda” and that G20 Energy Ministers will meet for the first time early next year to take this work forward. Abbott added that climate-related actions should support sustainable development, economic growth, and certainty for business and investment. In response to a question, he explained that coal will continue to play an important role in providing electricity access around the globe for decades to come, and that the only way to reduce emissions while maintaining growth is through energy efficiency.

At a press conference on 16 November, US President Barack Obama referred to the US/China agreement on climate change and the US contribution to the GCF as “historic steps” in the fight against climate change. He stated that “there are no excuses” for not reaching a global climate deal in 2015. He clarified that the US’ economy-wide target of reducing its emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 level in 2025 was developed based on existing authorities (i.e., the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to shape rules to regulate emissions) rather than the need for additional congressional action.

On 15 November, also addressing the press, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “G20 countries possess not only the political power to set us on a better course, but a political responsibility to do so.” He highlighted the need for global action in promoting inclusive growth and decent jobs, meeting the climate challenge and providing financing for sustainable development. He commended the recent US-China announcement on climate action, and noted Europe’s decision on emission reduction targets. Ban called on other leaders, particularly G20 leaders, to follow suit, and urged G20 countries to make “ambitious pledges” towards GCF capitalization at the 20 November pledging conference in Berlin, Germany.

The G20 Summit took place in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, on 15-16 November 2014. [G20 Leaders Summit Website] [G20 Leaders Communiqué] [President Obama Press Briefing] [Prime Minister Tony Abbott Press Briefing] [UN Press Release, 15 November] [UN Press Release, 16 November] [MDB and IMF Statement on Infrastructure]

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