Reports: PM excludes climate change from G20 key priorities

As reports suggest that Theresa May has excluded climate change as one of her key priorities at the G20 summit which starts in Germany today (7 July), a new Greenpeace report has predicted that wind and solar power will be the cheapest form of power in all G20 countries by 2030.

Reports earlier this week had claimed that the PM would challenge Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. On Wednesday, a UK Government official confirmed that May would raise climate change in a one-on-one meeting with Mr Trump, and stress that Britain “remains fully committed” to the deal.

A senior Government official has since revealed that the PM has not made climate change one of the British G20 delegation’s four key objectives. May is expected to instead focus on terrorism, modern slavery, migration and the global economy.

Christian Aid’s international climate lead Mohamed Adow has stressed that G20 presents May with a test of her support for the climate agenda.

He said: “Last month she gave only a soft slap on the wrist to Trump’s reckless act: but with her international reputation in the balance, she must publicly show that on climate change she has far more in common with the rest of the world than with Donald Trump and join other leaders in defending and advancing the Paris Agreement.

“At this summit, Donald Trump must realise that he has walked away from the top table on an issue of major international importance – on climate change he stands alone.”

‘No excuses’

Ahead of the G20’s summit in Hamburg, a study has found that renewable energy has been cheaper or equal in price to electricity generated from coal or nuclear plants in around half of the G20 countries since 2015.

The Greenpeace Germany-commissioned report shows that many of the G20 nations renewable power costs are now competitive with local grid prices. It estimates that by 2030, these costs will be much lower than conventional sources in all of the G20 countries.

The G20’s carbon footprint currently accounts for 75% of global emissions. Figures from the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International claim that G20 governments are spending $444bn annually to support the fossil fuel sector; although G7 nations – the UK, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – have since agreed a deal to end the majority of fossil fuel subsidies by 2025.

The new Greenpeace study found that wind farms already generate the cheapest form of electricity in 2015 in large parts of Europe, South America, the US, China and Australia. According to Greenpeace, rapid technical progress and falling prices mean that solar energy will be so cheap by 2030 that it will be even cheaper than wind power in many G20 countries.

“There can be no excuses anymore,” Greenpeace Germany energy expert Tobias Austrup said. “Climate protection increasingly makes economic sense across the G20 as renewable energy becomes cheaper than dirty coal and nuclear.

“Any G20 country that is still investing in coal and nuclear power plants is wasting their money on technology that will not be competitive in coming years. The G20 now has a responsibility to send a clear signal that accelerating the clean energy transition is not only the right thing to do for the climate, but also for the economy.”

George Ogleby

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