European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, attended the first ever G20 Energy Ministerial meeting in Istanbul, Turkey on 2 October. It took place back to back with the G20 Conference on Energy Access in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Group of 20 (G20) Energy Ministerial meeting centred on access to sustainable energy for all, energy efficiency, investments in energy and renewable energy. Ministers adopted a 'toolkit' of options for a long-term and sustainable approach for a faster roll-out of renewable energy.
"The EU has built global leadership in renewable energy. Today, renewables generate around 23.5% of the EU's power, and this is expected to rise to 50% by 2030. Yet, we should all aim higher and do all we can to encourage a boost in investments in renewables. Oil prices are low while the cost of renewables is falling dramatically so now is the moment to invest in renewables as a major tool in the fight against climate change," Arias Cañete said.
G20 countries – which include 20 of the world's major economies - account for 80% of current renewable electricity capacity in the world, and hold 75% of the total global potential for renewables, making them key players in mitigating climate change. Ministers at the meeting said they strongly support the work of the United Nations on climate change, and said they will work together to contribute to a successful outcome of the UN climate summit in Paris later this year.
Ministers also discussed the implementation of the energy efficiency action plan which was agreed at the G20 summit in November 2014. Under the action plan, G20 countries share knowledge on energy efficiency in a number of areas including vehicles, products and buildings.
"The benefits of international collaboration in energy efficiency are immense. By sharing our experiences we can speed-up progress towards greater energy efficiency. The EU has an energy efficiency target of at least 27% by 2030 – a target which will be reviewed in 2020 with a 30% target in mind. Today, our policies will only reduce energy consumption by 21% in 2030, we are therefore taking action to bridge this gap," Arias Cañete said.
At a separate meeting – the G20 Conference on Energy Access in Sub-Saharan Africa on 1 October – ministers discussed the problem of access to energy in the African region.
Today, more than 1.1 billion people live without access to electricity and the G20 plans to substantially contribute to ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.