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STATEMENT: Modest Progress to Bring Sustainability and Economic Growth Together at G20

WASHINGTON (September 5, 2016) — At the G20 summit in China, world leaders announced some commitments to further integrate climate change and clean energy into the economic growth agenda. In its closing Communiqué, G20 leaders encouraged countries to undertake voluntary peer reviews of fossil fuel subsidy reform, urged “rapid implementation” of the Paris Agreement, and welcomed the Green Finance Report tabled at the Summit. The report was produced by the Green Finance Study Group which was set up by China and is jointly chaired by People’s Bank of China and the Bank of England.

Following is a statement by Paula Caballero, Global Director, Climate Program, World Resources Institute:

“G20 leaders made steps to bring sustainability and economic growth closer together. Their announcement points toward the mounting evidence and recognition that smart climate action will promote prosperity for all. Going forward, these steps should build momentum towards more decisive action by the G20.

“Leaders missed the chance to set a firm date to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, which in 2014 reached $550 billion globally. But countries should take the G20’s call for voluntary peer reviews of subsidy reform as a hint of what may come. By highlighting the Green Finance Report, leaders signaled to businesses and investors how the greening of financial systems can be defined and achieved. And leaders added to the increasing momentum behind the Paris Agreement, predicting its entry into force by the year’s end and calling for ‘rapid implementation’ henceforth.

“The G20 comes on the heels of the major diplomatic breakthrough as the U.S. and China joined the Paris Agreement. Now tantalizingly close to entering into force, the Paris Agreement is destined to become one of the most swiftly enacted treaties in history. Given the scale and urgency of the challenge, other countries should do their part to make the Agreement fully operational as soon as possible.

“It is increasingly clear that strong economic growth can be achieved without increasing global emissions. World leaders should capitalize on this trend, while pushing for an upward spiral of ambition leading into the next G20 Summit in 2017.”

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