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20 on the G20

The London Summit is an historic opportunity for developed and developing countries to begin to make a fundamental shift in the way they produce and use energy, writes John Podesta.

The London Summit is an historic opportunity for developed and developing countries to begin to make a fundamental shift in the way they produce and use energy. This must be a priority issue. Countries around the world are making more than US$2 trillion in new investments in an effort to recover from the global recession, and this spending must move us all towards a low-carbon future. The chance to align public expenditures of this magnitude will simply not present itself again for decades.

The transformation of the United States to a low-carbon economy is necessary to meet the climate change challenge, but it is not sufficient. A truly global strategy is needed to reduce carbon emissions and to green the economies of the rapidly developing world.

As part of this effort, the G20 must also ensure that the energy needs of the poorest countries are addressed. More than two billion people lack regular access to modern energy services, and 1.6 billion do not have electricity at home. Lack of access to clean, reliable, affordable energy increases health risks and early mortality, and impedes economic development.

The world’s poorest countries have a right to development in a carbon-constrained world, and, as the primary contributors to global warming pollution, the wealthiest nations have a responsibility to assist in this development.

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Authors

John Podesta

Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors

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