The T20 blog is an initiative of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW). Both institutes have been encouraged by the German government to organise the T20 process during Germany’s G20 Presidency in 2016 and 2017. The T20 organises the collaboration of global think tanks and high-level experts in order to provide analytical depth to ongoing G20 discussions and produce ideas to help the G20 on delivering concrete and sustainable policy measures. The blog intends to bring an additional dimension to the way the T20 engages with members of our own research network, the broader public, and the German G20 presidency in advance of the 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg.
At first glance, the outlook for climate policy in 2017 does not look too promising: Donald Trump has become the president of the US and presented an energy plan that does not even mention climate change but is based on shale gas and coal. In addition, Europe’s often claimed leadership in climate policy is in jeopardy, with Brexit and the potential outcome of elections in the Netherlands and France, where populism and EU scepticism is on the rise.
However, on reflection, this year could be a good starting point for the achievement of new milestones in climate protection. Part and parcel of this less pessimistic outlook are the aims of the G20 and its German presidency. Under the leadership of Angela Merkel there is a good chance for a push towards carbon pricing. This would allow the world to pursue a growth path that protects the environment at the same time as lifting people out of poverty.
Ninety-two years ago, John Maynard Keynes wrote his famous essay The Economic Consequences of Mr Churchill. Economists today are going through a similar process for Mr Trump. Indeed the critical questions for the G20 this year are what the consequences will be of Mr Trump’s policies for the G20’s macroeconomic agenda, and what can the G20 do to address them.
The new U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to depart from the climate agenda of his predecessor Barack Obama and introduce a new energy policy. This expected policy shift, if realized, will deal a blow to the G20’s commitments on energy and climate. As a forum of 19 emerging and industrialized markets, plus the European Union, the G20 is responsible for 82% of global emissions related to the energy sector. The G20 countries thus have a key role to play in curtailing global emissions and implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Just in time for the meeting of the G20 Agricultural Ministers on 22 January 2017 in Berlin the T20 Task Force “Towards Ending Hunger and Sustainable Agriculture” published its Policy Brief on Key Policy Actions for Sustainable Land and Water Use to Serve People.
The 2017 G20 summit takes place in the country that has won international recognition for its “Energiewende” – a fundamental transformation of its energy system. This provides an important window of opportunity for strengthening the G20 agenda on sustainable energy. The world’s overall energy supply is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, which undermines climate protection objectives, and the resilience of financial markets. With falling costs of renewable energies and global efforts to combat climate change, investments in fossil fuels and nuclear energy bear significant risks for stranded assets and thus the long-term stability of financial markets.