Center for American Progress

RELEASE: How the G-20 Could Become a Leader in the Global Fight Against Climate Change
Press Release

RELEASE: How the G-20 Could Become a Leader in the Global Fight Against Climate Change

Washington, D.C. — As the G-20 prepares for the summit in Hangzhou, China—and looks toward the 2017 summit in Hamburg, Germany—it has the opportunity to take up the mantle of global climate leadership. The group would be particularly effective in this role, given that it accounts for more than 85 percent of global GDP and more than 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Center for American Progress has released an issue brief proposing that the G-20 must develop a priority on climate-compatible infrastructure in order to become a leader in the global fight against climate change and the implementation of the historic Paris Agreement.

To date, the G-20 has a record of ambivalence on the topic of climate change. One major case in point is the disconnect between the group’s efforts to address climate risks and its efforts to reduce the shortfall in global infrastructure investment.

“On one hand, the G-20 is aware that investing in projects that are high-carbon or vulnerable to the physical effects of climate change carries risks that could have a destabilizing effect on the global economy,” says Gwynne Taraska, Associate Director of Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress. “On the other hand, the G-20 is seeking to narrow the infrastructure gap without framing the problem in the context of climate change. The G-20 should use its influence to increase infrastructure investments worldwide without undermining the global climate effort.”

Should the G-20 choose to become a driving force in the transition to a low-carbon global economy, a natural step would be to integrate its priorities on infrastructure and climate risk in order to create a leader-level focus on climate-compatible infrastructure investment, the paper argues. There are many tools G-20 members could use to steer investment toward infrastructure projects that are low-carbon.

Read more about why and how the G-20 can reduce the infrastructure gap in a way that is consistent with the global low-carbon shift.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.