G20 bails out fossils – Climate Weekly

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An oil rig (Flickr/ arbyreed)


We got a sneak preview this week of heavyweight analysis on how green – or otherwise – coronavirus bailout packages are in G20 countries.

It’s not looking good. Overall, governments are throwing more money at fossil fuels than clean energy. That is the case in the US, Russia, Australia, Canada, France, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea and Turkey.

India, Japan, Germany, the UK and Brazil swing the other way. Large-scale support for rail tipped China into the green camp.

But as Ivetta Gerasimchuk told a webcast panel event on Thursday, “there are many shades of green”. For the full nuanced picture, check out energypolicytracker.org on 15 July.

This week’s stories…

…and climate conversations

I see you, Icao

The council of the UN aviation body has agreed to rewrite the rules on carbon offsetting until at least 2023, citing the pandemic-induced collapse in air traffic.

The industry’s impact assessment suggested the baseline change would save airlines $15 billion – money that would otherwise have been invested in carbon-cutting projects.

Astonishingly, the International Civil Aviation Organization claimed this as a win for the environment. Its communications officer will fight anyone on Twitter who says Icao is secretive or doesn’t do enough on climate change.

Setting the pace

Ireland has formed a coalition government with a climate plan that notably leaves little wiggle room for delay.

They will introduce a climate law to cut emissions 7% a year this decade, on the path to net zero by 2050.

That means scrapping a planned LNG import terminal and going big on offshore wind power.

Did Jamaica?

No, she did it of her own accord!*

The first Caribbean country has submitted an upgraded climate plan to the UN. It’s not the most ambitious plan you’ll find in absolute terms, but Jamaica, a small island developing state, wins points for finding capacity to meet the 2020 deadline amid a global pandemic.

It’s a timeline Cop26 hosts the UK, which praised the submission, has not committed to.

Staying power

Electric cars – not including hybrids – made up nearly half of car sales in Norway the first half of this year, a new record despite the economic downturn.

It gives further evidence for analysis showing clean automakers are more resilient to the crisis than petrol and diesel counterparts globally.

However this is still highly policy-dependent and the picture is less rosy in the US, Japan and South Korea.


*I won’t give up the day job.

Read more on: Climate politics