Five sources of encouragement for green businesses from the G20 Summit

James Murray
clock • 5 min read

The G20 yesterday promised 'strong and effective' climate action, despite opposition from Australia - BusinessGreen looks at the key implications of the latest climate commitments

4. There is a global consensus in support of energy efficiency

The one aspect of the text around energy and climate change where there was little disagreement related to energy efficiency. After years of campaigning to little avail there appears to finally be some recognition that greater investment in energy efficiency makes economic and environmental sense. There is little detail about what the G20's new "Action Plan for Voluntary Collaboration on Energy Efficiency" will entail, but it looks as if renewed collaboration on emissions performance for vehicles, as well as smart grids, building efficiency, optimised industrial processes and electricity generation, and energy efficiency financing is now on the cards. The opportunities for businesses arising from a co-ordinated global push to promote energy efficiency would be enormous.

5. World leaders accept fossil fuel subsidies are a problem

The commitment to "rationalise and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, recognising the need to support the poor" is now as much a part of the G20 tradition as the amusing photo opportunities and the thinly veiled threats aimed at Vladimir Putin. The reality is that action to curb inefficient fossil fuel subsidies it still yet to be translated from diplomatic commitment to real world action, largely because everyone disagrees on what constitutes a subsidy and which ones are "inefficient".

However, as Tony Abbott found, this issue is not about to go away. Most of the world's leading economies now recognise the wisdom of the argument, put forward by the International Energy Agency, that it is insane to subsidise fossil fuels when you are trying to decarbonise. It will take a long time, but eventually G20 leaders will start to honour their commitment on fossil fuel subsidies.

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