G20 summit drops clean-energy pledge
The leaders of the world's 20 most powerful developed and developing states (G20) on Sunday dropped a pledge to invest in climate-friendly energy generation from their final summit statement, DPA reported.
Climate change topped the world agenda last year, but was eclipsed after the relative failure of a massive summit in Copenhagen in December. The G20's decision further tones down international pledges to invest in the fight against global warming.
Earlier drafts of the statement for the summit, which brought together the leaders of key states such as China, India and the United States, said that G20 members "reiterate our commitment to ... investments in clean energy."
But that phrase was left out of the final version, which instead reiterated leaders' "commitment to a green recovery and to sustainable global growth."
G20 members are deeply at odds over the climate question. The European Union and Japan have already pledged to make deep greenhouse-gas emissions cuts, but other developed and developing states are at odds over the question of who should do how much.
"The issue shows that the G20 can't do everything," one diplomat commented drily.
Summit host Canada, in particular, has fought against approving overly ambitious language on clean energy. The country is one of the world's heaviest greenhouse-gas emitters and relies heavily on polluting fossil fuels to power its economy.
Environment group WWF reacted angrily to the omission.
"They went through this document with a vacuum cleaner to remove any reference to clean energy. In the Pittsburgh G20 summit (in September 2009), there were 8 references to 'clean energy' - in this one, there is zero," WWF climate expert Kim Carstensen said.
"This is demonstrative of the host country's lack of drive and ambition on empowering a shift to renewable energy," he said.
The text also watered down a Pittsburgh pledge to phase out subsidies of fossil fuels.
The final version said that that pledge should only apply to "inefficient" subsidies "that encourage wasteful consumption." However, it removed a clause which would have made the pledge entirely voluntary.