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CAN Statement on the 2016 G20 Summit: A strong take-off , but a bumpy landing on climate change

Hangzhou, China, 5 September 2016: Climate Action Network welcomed the US and China’s ratification of the Paris Agreement on the eve of the G20 summit here. However, civil society groups are disappointed that more countries did not follow suit.  Moreover, the final G20 communique published today was overall low on details, weak in tone and failed to make strong commitments on fighting climate change.

The communique failed to make significant progress on several of CAN demands communicated to the G20 governments

  • Though there were references to sustainable development, there was no mention of countries submitting their long-term strategies and decarbonisation plans.
  •  The summit failed to set a deadline to end fossil fuel subsidies.
  •  While looking forward to outcomes from the forthcoming Montreal Protocol and the ICAO meetings, the communique was weakly worded and did not commit to reaching an ambitious agreement on either of these meetings.
  • While stressing commitments to scale up green finance, the G20 failed to mention the need for climate-related financial disclosures or to ensure that future infrastructures would be climate-friendly and pro-poor.
  • No plans were outlined on transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. 

Some of CAN members reacted to the outcome of the summit as below:

“Hosts to this year’s G20, China has shown great leadership on climate over the last year. Against a backdrop of declining coal consumption and rapid renewable energy growth, China has even greater potential now to match its political effort with further action...but the lack of progress on outlining a concrete timetable for the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies is a reminder that the G20’s collective action on climate change must go further. Handing out money to the fossil fuel industry is simply not compatible with the Paris Agreement,” said Li Shuo, Greenpeace East Asia’s Senior Climate Policy Adviser.

"The Paris Agreement and the SDGs have set a new framework for the global economy and the G20 can't continue with business as usual if these goals are to be put into practice. Discussions started on these issues this year, but much more needs to be done. We commend China for putting the ratification of the Paris Agreement and the greening of the financial system on the G20 agenda - it is now up to the German presidency next year to deliver concrete implementation strategies on these issues. The United States and China formally joining the Paris Agreement is a big step, as it shows that the course set by the Paris Agreement is becoming irreversible. It also increases the pressure for all EU governments to follow suit if they don't want to be left out," said Christoph Bals, Policy Director, Germanwatch

“The G20 failed to set the right priorities. They don’t seem to care for our common home. While climate change is only one of "Further Significant Global Challenges Affecting the World Economy”, the biggest problem and – at the same time – the one-size-fits-all solution G20 offers to these challenges is growth. They stick to the same old tools that have not been able to solve the climate crisis and global inequality,” said Pirmin Spiegel, General Director at the Catholic Bishops' Organisation for Development Cooperation MISEREOR

CAN believes it is imperative that the world’s most powerful economies, accounting for up to 80 percent of global emissions, take a strong lead to limit the increase in the global temperature beyond 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, as committed under the Paris Agreement; end fossil fuel subsidies; and submit long-term decarbonisation plans, among other actions.
By missing out on an opportunity to consolidate the international community’s commitment to fighting climate change, two months before the COP22 in Marrakesh, the G20 has failed to build on momentum and ambition towards a post-Paris climate agenda commensurate with the challenges facing our planet.

Contact:
For more information, contact Dharini Parthasarathy, Communications Coordinator, Policy, CAN International 
Email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org or call +918826107830

More resources:
Open letter to G20 countries 
CAN Briefing: G20 Key Demands 
G20 Communique- English

About Climate Action Network:

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 950 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org

 

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