Time for G20 to keep promises on climate and finance

Press release - 8 November, 2010
Amsterdam, 8 November 2010 — Against a backdrop of one of the hottest years on record, with fires, floods and storms, G20 leaders must honour the promises they made a year ago on taking climate action, cutting fossil fuel subsidies and helping the world to kickstart a green economy, Greenpeace said today.

The G20 meeting, to be held in Seoul this week, looks as though it may even backtrack on previous statements on climate.

 “This G20 is supposed to give a strong signal of support for the upcoming climate talks in Cancun, but instead we understand there are moves afoot to backtrack on commitments made a year ago,” said Patricia Lerner, Greenpeace International Senior Political Advisor.

 The international environmental organization today issued a checklist (1) of four key criteria for a successful G20, calling for leaders to honour their promises on climate, and to close the gap between current industrialized country emission reduction commitments and what the climate science demands.  

 Leaders must also create the financial and regulatory conditions that incentivise a green economy, and agree on the indicatorsand reporting mechanisms needed to monitor progress.

 Another key issue committed to by G20 leaders in Pittsburgh last year and reported on in Toronto earlier this year, was the phase-out of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. Greenpeace today released an initial investigation into Government subsidies to the deepwater oil extraction industry in five countries: Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the UK and the US (2). 

 The report, written by the Global Subsidies Initiative, reveals a lack of transparency around these subsidies, and finds that governments are still providing far too little information for a proper public debate on high-cost oil subsidies to take place.

 It points out that policies to meet energy-specific goals, as well job creation and industrial development, should maximize benefits across complex energy, economic and environmental systems, not just specific oil projects, as is often the case.  The review recommends that the discussion of the issue needs to shift away from what, at this point, is a mere discussion on revenue maximisation from specific oil projects.

 Greenpeace’s final call to the G20 leaders is that they must agree to switch priorities from subsidising fossil fuels to the fast-tracking of significant funds so the world’s poorest countries can adapt to climate change, switch to a clean energy economies and stop deforestation. This finance needs to be both new and additional.

 “These governments have a choice: they can lead the world to a clean energy future, safe from the ravages of climate change – or they can continue to subsidise the oil industry and accept the human and economic consequences of dangerous climate change. Do taxpayers really want their hard earned money squandered on subsidizing high risk ventures when there are safer, cleaner options?” Lerner asked.




(1)  www.greenpeace.org/international/publications/reports/G20-Summit-Seoul-2010-/

(2)  See report online – with Greenpeace media briefing www.greenpeace.org/international/publications/reports/G20-Summit-Seoul-2010-/ (link to both)





Patricia Lerner, Greenpeace International Senior Political Advisor, +31 646 16 2027 at the G20 meeting in Seoul


Joao Talocchi, Greenpeace International Climate Campaigner, +31 646 19 73 32


Szabina Mozes, Greenpeace International Communications, +31 646 16 20 23