G20 Sets No Deadline to Support Paris Deal, End Fossil Subsidies
The leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies have again declared their determination to support the Paris climate accord and stop subsidizing fossil fuels, but once again declined to say exactly when.
The communiqué concluding the annual summit of G20 leaders in Hangzhou, China said they “expect a rapid implementation of the [Paris] agreement in all its dimensions,” Climate Home reports.
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But the communiqué stopped short of calling on all G20 members to join the climate accord by the end of this year—a coordinated action that would very likely bring the agreement into force by achieving the necessary threshold of ratification by 55 countries representing 55% of global emissions.
The economic leaders were no firmer on their long-held goal of phasing out subsidies to the fossil fuel sector that are estimated at US$150 billion to $5.3 trillion a year. Despite intense pressure before the summit to finally set a timetable for achieving an objective the group first articulated in 2009, the final communiqué committed to no more than ending subsidies in the “medium term.”
As the summit began, Bloomberg’s editorial board had denounced ongoing fossil subsidies as “the world’s dumbest policy,” observing that “they fuel corruption, discourage efficient use of energy, and promote needlessly capital-intensive industries. They sustain unviable fossil fuel producers, hold back innovation, and encourage countries to build uneconomic pipelines and coal-fired power plants.
“Last and most important, if governments are to have any hope of meeting their ambitious climate targets, they need to stop paying people to use and produce fossil fuels.”
The leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies would appear to agree, and even say they want to change. Just not yet.