G20 Puts More into Fossil Than Green Energy in Covid-19 Recovery Packages

BUENOS AIRES, Nov 26 2020 (IPS) – As the world’s leading economies direct trillions of dollars towards Covid-19 recovery packages, a significant proportion is going to fossil fuel industries without climate stipulations, according to the 2020 edition of the Climate Transparency Report – which has assessed the climate performance of G20 countries.

Up until the middle of October, the G20 spent US$393 billion on support to the energy sector, with 53.5% going to fossil fuels ($175 billion to oil and gas, and $16.2 billion to coal). Of this, 86% has been provided without conditions for improved environmental action or performance.

The report shows that at least 19 of the G20 countries have provided financial support to their domestic oil, coal and gas sectors, including Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. If they continue along this path, governments risk reversing, instead of locking in, positive pre-Covid trends such as a stable expansion of renewable energy.At least 19 of the G20 countries have provided financial support to their domestic oil, coal and gas sectors, including Argentina, Brazil and Mexico

“The recovery packages can solve the climate crisis or make it worse,” says Charlene Watson of the Overseas Development Institute. “Some G20 members like the EU, France, or Germany are setting mostly a good example. Others direct too much support to fossil fuels, putting at risk positive recent developments.”

G20 economies represent more than 80% of global GDP and three-quarters of global trade. The group is also responsible for 75% of global emissions and therefore has a major role in fulfilling the goal of the Paris Agreement to avoid a temperature increase of more than 2C, or ideally 1.5C, above the pre-industrial norm.

However, existing G20 commitments are insufficient to accomplish that goal, and would lead the world to a temperature 2.7C higher by the end of the century, according to the report. Countries are expected to update their climate pledges in 2020 and 2021 ahead of the COP26 climate summit.

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