The G20 is a leading forum of the world's major economies that seeks to develop global policies to address today’s most pressing challenges. It consists of the European Union and 19 countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. In 2018, G20 presidency is held by Argentina under the theme “Building consensus for fair and sustainable development.” The year's theme of the Energy ministerial is “Energy Transitions Towards Cleaner, More Flexible and Transparent Systems.”
Energy issues have been addressed at the G20 Meeting of Energy Ministers. Discussions centred around energy transitions, affordable access to energy and the role played by technological innovation. Participants also addressed a series of reports by international organizations about renewable energy and energy efficiency.
G20 members have recognized that energy transitions are an essential element of long-term development strategies that should combine economic growth with decreasing GHG emissions. Energy transition does not only contribute to emissions reduction and the implementation of the Paris Agreement; it does provide affordable and reliable energy, energy security, economic growth, and a cleaner environment.
There are different possible national paths to achieve cleaner energy systems and each G20 member - according to its stage of development - has a unique and diverse energy system as starting point, with different energy resources, demand dynamics, technologies, stock of capital, geographies and cultures. Bearing these differences in mind, G20 should play a leading role in encouraging effective energy transitions processes. The Communiqué addresses following issues: energy efficiency, renewable energy, natural gas, other fossil fuels, subsidies, nuclear energy, innovation, digitalization, energy security and energy access and affordability.
Energy efficiency has been prioritised by G20 members and has become one of the pillars of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Energy efficiency measures enhance energy security, industrial competitiveness, emissions reduction, economic growth and job creation. International collaboration is critical to effectively support the design and implementation of national energy efficiency policies and programmes. Argentina’s G20 Presidency 2018 will strongly support activities of the Task Groups of the Energy Efficiency Leading Programme and promote other critical aspects that contribute to the success of energy efficiency policy options, such as Behaviour Change initiatives.
Energy ministers acknowledged that the progress achieved with regard to the development and deployment of renewable energy has been remarkable, but much more progress will be needed, not only in G20 member countries, but also worldwide. Thus, G20 members have been encouraged to enhance their renewable energy strategies considering national circumstances, needs and priorities to accelerate their implementation. As regards deployment of renewable energy in developing countries, special attention should be given to barrier reduction and risk mitigation initiatives. In addition, renewable energy progress should be accelerated also beyond the power sector. Bioenergy, solar and geothermal energy, can play an important role in some G20 countries in reducing emissions in the transportation, heating and cooling, and industrial sectors.
Natural gas currently plays a key role in energy mix of many G20 countries and has potential to expand significantly over the coming decades. In this context, G20 members will endeavour to improve the functioning, transparency and competitiveness of gas markets, with a strategic view of the supply chain including LNG and storage facilities.
G20 countries that opt to continue utilising fossil fuels were encouraged to spur innovation through the use of advanced and cleaner technology options such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage. The Communiqué stresses the importance of using the most advanced and cleaner technologies in order to address the environmental impacts. In addition, G20 energy ministers expressed their commitment to phase-out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.
Countries that opt to use nuclear energy were encouraged to uphold the highest standards of nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation, including the compliance with an independent and effective regulator, and to exchange their expertise and experiences.
The G20 energy ministers have acknowledged a key role of innovation and encouraged G20 countries to facilitate research, development and deployment of innovative, cleaner and efficient energy technologies.
Market digitalisation can significantly increase flexibility and enable integration across entire systems, as well as to open up the opportunity for millions of consumers. Thus, G20 members were encouraged to foster closer collaboration among international, regional and national organisations, to build and implement capacity for energy data collection and management.
Energy security is acknowledged as one of the guiding principles for the energy transformation. G20 members have stressed the importance of diversification of energy sources, suppliers and routes, and the need to facilitate the proper conditions for energy investments. Investment in infrastructure are particularly essential. In this context, G20 members call for increased contributions from both public and private financial resources.
As regards energy access, G20 members have recognized that energy is at the heart of economic growth and sustainable development, and that access to modern energy services and clean cooking facilities is one of the prerequisites for social and economic development. Thus, universal energy access should be promoted, with special emphasis on the need to eradicate energy poverty and energy access in disaster-impacted and remote areas. In this context, Energy Access and Affordability Voluntary Action Plan for Latin America and the Caribbean has been presented under the Argentinian presidency.