G20 Meetings Urge Energy Transitions for Sustainable Growth
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The ‘Tokyo Declaration on Improving the Visibility and Energy Performance of Asset Investments by Financial Institutions’ calls for increased transparency regarding the energy performance of banks’ assets and for promoting best practices, and tracking commitments made to tag assets’ energy performance.

The ‘Energy and Environment Communiqué’ supports actions on energy innovation, energy security, energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy access and affordability, resource efficiency, and adaptation and resilient infrastructure.

The ‘G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration’ acknowledges the role of all energy sources and technologies in the energy mix and a range of possible paths to achieve cleaner energy systems.

30 June 2019: The G20 Leaders’ Summit and associated meetings, including a global event on financing energy efficiency and a meeting of energy and environment ministers on energy transitions and the global environment, highlighted energy-related and environmental issues such as energy performance of asset investments and energy transitions to affordable, reliable, sustainable and low-emissions systems.

The G20 Global Summit on Financing Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Technology brought together policymakers, pension fund CEOs, insurance companies and financiers to discuss the world’s energy efficiency investment gap. The Global Summit issued the ‘Tokyo Declaration on Improving the Visibility and Energy Performance of Asset Investments by Financial Institutions.’ The Declaration includes recommendations on:

  • increased transparency regarding the energy performance of banks’ assets;
  • an exemplary role for public financial institutions when considering energy performance in new real estate lending activities;
  • promoting best practices, and tracking commitments made to tag assets’ energy performance; and
  • considering smart enabling infrastructure in cities and the built environment that yield systemic efficiency gains.

The Declaration notes that 136 countries refer to actions by the buildings and/or construction sector in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change. It further notes that, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), USD 240 billion was invested in energy efficiency across the buildings, transport and industry sectors in 2018, the same level as in 2017, partly due to lower spending on energy efficient buildings. The Declaration highlights that the G20 Energy Efficiency Finance Task Group has developed tools to enable 122 private banks, six public financial institutions and more than USD 4 trillion of institutional investors to embed energy efficiency considerations in their activities.

Summit participants also discussed the importance of improving data disclosure, machine learning techniques and other advanced data analytics to improve the transparency of the emerging sustainable finance market.

The Global Summit convened in Tokyo, Japan, on 12 June 2019, and was co-hosted by the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) and the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). [Tokyo Declaration on Improving the Visibility and Energy Performance of Asset Investments by Financial Institutions] [IPEEC News Story on G20 Global Summit on Financing Energy Efficiency, Innovation and Clean Technology]

The Global Summit’s outcomes were communicated to the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth, which convened in Karuizawa, Japan, from 15-16 June 2019. The Ministerial Meeting provided an opportunity for environment and energy ministers to exchange views on: accelerating the “virtuous cycle” of environmental protection and economic growth by innovation; resource efficiency; marine plastic litter; and adaptation and resilient infrastructure, including ecosystem-based approaches. Ministers adopted an ‘Energy and Environment Communiqué,’ which details a range of initiatives and actions agreed to at the Meeting.

Among other initiatives, ministers adopted the ‘G20 Karuizawa Innovation Action Plan on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth,’ which will enhance efforts and cooperation at the national, regional and international levels, involving multiple stakeholders. They also agreed to a Japanese climate initiative, ‘Research and Development 20 for Clean Energy Technologies (RD20)’ to promote international collaboration among leading research and development institutes in G20 countries.

Ministers adopted a voluntary framework, the ‘G20 Implementation Framework for Actions on Marine Plastic Litter,’ which includes strategies to help developing countries, and aims to reduce plastic pollution in oceans. It addresses: waste management; marine plastic litter collection and recovery; deployment of innovative solutions; and a life-cycle approach to prevent and reduce plastic litter discharge in oceans.

In the Communiqué, ministers also: support efforts to mobilize finance and improve the market and investment environment for various energy options, innovative technologies and infrastructure that enhances energy access, resilience and sustainability.

On energy innovation, the Communiqué, inter alia: supports international cooperation on sustainable biofuels and bioenergy, and innovative technologies for sector coupling; stresses the importance of establishing innovation ecosystems and recognizing the role of startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in promoting energy transitions; highlights accelerated efforts to unlock the potential of hydrogen as a clean and secure energy source; and recognizes the potential of developing and deploying carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies.

On energy security, ministers emphasize the importance of: reliable energy infrastructure to prevent energy supply disruptions; diversification of energy sources, suppliers and routes; and open, flexible, transparent, competitive, stable and reliable markets.

On energy efficiency, ministers agree to: further explore the potential and impact of energy efficiency in such areas as heating and cooling, and buildings; and encourage policies to scale up investments and financing in energy efficiency across all sectors.

On renewable energy, the Communiqué: underscores the need to accelerate renewable energy progress beyond the power sector; and addresses power systems, nuclear energy, fossil fuels and the need to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

On energy access and affordability, ministers reaffirm their commitments to: promote universal energy access in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; help enhance implementation of regional action plans; and provide displaced people in disaster-impacted and remote areas with energy access.

On resource efficiency, ministers, inter alia: reiterate that economic growth and environmental protection go hand in hand and contribute to the SDGs; recognize the importance of science-based approaches in policymaking; agree that improving resource efficiency can help reduce marine litter; agree to help reduce food loss and food waste; and recognize the economic and environmental benefits of resource efficiency and circular economy policies in their potential to reduce emissions.

On adaptation and resilient infrastructure, including ecosystem-based approaches, the Communiqué, among other things: recognizes that adaptation and resilience actions can promote the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially for the most vulnerable; and underscores the importance of promoting adaptation and building resilience at the local level. [Ministerial Meeting Website] [Outcomes of the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth] [Communiqué of the G20 Ministerial Meeting]

The Ministerial Meeting’s outcomes fed into the G20 Leaders’ Summit, which met from 28-29 June. Leaders adopted the ‘G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration,’ which includes a section on energy and energy efficiency. The Declaration acknowledges the importance of energy transitions that realize the ‘3E+S’ (Energy Security, Economic Efficiency and Environment + Safety) to transform energy systems into affordable, reliable, sustainable and low-emissions systems.

The Declaration acknowledges the role of all energy sources and technologies in the energy mix and a range of possible paths to achieve cleaner energy systems. It recognizes: opportunities presented by further development of innovative, clean and efficient technologies for energy transitions, including CCUS; the importance of global energy security for energy system transformation; and the importance of international cooperation on energy access, affordability, efficiency and storage.

Leaders also reaffirm their commitment to medium-term rationalization and phasing-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while providing targeted support for the poorest populations. [G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on SDG Action Plan Presented at G20 Meetings] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on the IPEEC Report: Accelerating Energy Efficiency Progress in G20 Economies]


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