Tuesday, 2 July 2019

G20 in Osaka blows hot and cold over nuclear

Climate change was the only issue where consensus failed to be reached at the G20 meeting of leaders of the globe’s biggest economies, held in in Osaka, Japan at the end of last week.


Nineteen out of twenty states, including oil-rich Saudi Arabia, agreed to a final

Communiqué that said on energy:

34. Noting the important work of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sources (IPBES), and in the light of recent extreme weather events and disasters, we recognize the urgent need for addressing complex and pressing global issues and challenges, including climate change, resource efficiency, air, land, fresh water and marine pollution, including marine plastic litter, biodiversity loss, sustainable consumption and production, urban environmental quality and other environmental issues, and for promoting and leading energy transitions, with the best available science, while promoting sustainable growth. A paradigm shift is needed where the virtuous cycle of environment and growth is accelerated through innovations, and with business communities playing an important role, in synergy with the public sector. To this end we stress the importance of accelerating the virtuous cycle and leading transformations to a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future. We emphasize the importance of taking concrete and practical actions and collecting international best practices and wisdom from around the world, mobilizing public and private finance, technology and investment and improving business environments.

Climate Change

35. To this end, we strive to foster inclusive finance for sustainable development, including public and private financing mobilization and alignment between them, as well as innovation in a wide range of areas for low emissions and resilient development. Climate actions at all levels with broad participation, including by non-state actors, will be the key to realizing such a paradigm shift. In further enhancing this effort, as appropriate to each country’s circumstances, we will look into a wide range of clean technologies and approaches, including smart cities, ecosystem and community based approaches, nature based solutions and traditional and indigenous knowledge. We need to enhance efforts to support actions and cooperation in adaptation and disaster risk reduction, in particular, for the most vulnerable communities, and to elaborate further and foster coherence between mitigation action, adaptation measures, environmental protection, and resilient infrastructure. We note the successful adoption of the implementation guidelines for the Paris Agreement and the completion of the stocktaking of the Talanoa Dialogue at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (UNFCCC COP) 24 and the outcomes of the meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Karuizawa, subsequent to the successful G20 Buenos Aires Summit. We are determined to make best use of this momentum, and thus look forward to a successful Climate Action Summit of the UN Secretary-General and concrete outcomes at UNFCCC COP 25 in Santiago, Chile. Signatories to the Paris Agreement who confirmed at Buenos Aires its irreversibility and are determined to implement it, reaffirm their commitment to its full implementation, reflecting common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances. By 2020 we aim to communicate, update or maintain our NDCs, taking into account that further global efforts are needed. We emphasize the importance of providing financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in accordance with the Paris Agreement.”


Then there was the US opt-out:

36. The United States reiterates its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because it disadvantages American workers and taxpayers. The U.S. reaffirms its strong commitment to promoting economic growth, energy security and access, and environmental protection. The U.S.’s balanced approach to energy and environment allows for the delivery of affordable, reliable, and secure energy to all its citizens while utilizing all energy sources and technologies, including clean and advanced fossil fuels and technologies, renewables, and civil nuclear power, while also reducing emissions and promoting economic growth. The United States is a world leader in reducing emissions. U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions fell by 14% between 2005 and 2017 even as its economy grew by 19.4% largely due to the development and deployment of innovative energy technologies. The United States remains committed to the development and deployment of advanced technologies to continue to reduce emissions and provide for a cleaner environment.

It ended with a more general paragraph on Energy:

37. We acknowledge the importance of energy transitions that realize the “3E+S” (Energy Security, Economic Efficiency, and Environment + Safety) in order to transform our energy systems into affordable, reliable, sustainable and low GHG emissions systems as soon as possible, recognizing that there are different possible national paths to achieve this goal. Recalling the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth Communique, we acknowledge the role of all energy sources and technologies in the energy mix and different possible national paths to achieve cleaner energy systems. We also recognize opportunities offered by further development of innovative, clean and efficient technologies for energy transitions, including hydrogen as well as, depending on national circumstances, the Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) taking note of work on “Carbon Recycling” and “Emissions to Value”. We acknowledge the G20 Japanese Presidency’s initiative called Research and Development 20 for clean energy technologies (“RD20”). In light of recent events highlighting concern about safe flow of energy, we acknowledge the importance of global energy security as one of the guiding principles for the transformation of energy systems, including resilience, safety and development of infrastructure and undisrupted flow of energy from various sources, suppliers, and routes. We recognize the value of international cooperation on a wide range of energy-related issues including energy access, affordability and energy efficiency, and energy storage. We reaffirm our joint commitment on medium term rationalization and phasing-out of Inefficient Fossil Fuel Subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while providing targeted support for the poorest.


The US opt out stands out like a sore thumb!


In his post-Summit press conference on 29 June in Osaka, the following exchange took place, where President Trump unintentionally revealed his deep ignorance of energy issues


Q    You praised this G20 Summit as extremely successful, yet it was a “G19 against one” summit, if we look at climate change.  Why is it that you still think ignoring the dangers of climate change is in the interest of the American (inaudible)?

THE PRESIDENT:  I don’t ignore it.  So we have the best numbers that we’ve ever had recently.  And I’m not looking to put our companies out of business.  I’m not looking to create a standard that is so high that we’re going to lose 20, 25 percent of our production.  I’m not willing to do that.  We have the cleanest water we’ve ever had.  We have the cleanest air.  You saw the reports come out recently.  We have the cleanest air we’ve ever had.  But I’m not willing to sacrifice the tremendous power of what we’ve built up over a long period of time, and what I’ve enhanced and revived.  I’m not — I’m just not willing to do that.

And they understand where I stand.  And, you know, I’m not necessarily sure I agree.  I can tell you, I’m not sure that I agree with certain countries, what they’re doing.  Because I think they’re losing a lot of the power of what they can do with factories and with — and I’m not talking about political power, although that comes with it — I’m talking about the powering of a plant.  It doesn’t always work with a windmill.  When the wind goes off, the plant isn’t working.  It doesn’t always work with solar, because solar is just not strong enough.

And a lot of them want to go to wind, which has caused a lot of problems.  And, you know, the problem with wind is, in the United States, we’re subsidizing these wind towers all over the place because wind doesn’t work — for the most part, doesn’t work without subsidy.  And I don’t want to be subsidizing things that don’t have to be subsidized.

The United States is paying tremendous amounts of money on subsidies for wind.  I don’t like it.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want to do that.


The Japanese Presidency of the G20 organized a Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth, held on  

15-16 June 2019, Karuizawa, (Japan)  for which a background paper  was commissioned from the International energy Agency (IEA), titled Securing Investments in Low Carbon Power Generation Sources.


The paper opened by stressing “The power sector is extremely important in the global decarbonisation effort. While electricity’s share in total final energy consumption is less than 20%, almost 40% of CO2 emissions are attributable to the electricity sector.”


It added later specifically on Nuclear:


“Nuclear power plants currently generate more than 10% of global electricity supply, and its share in

low-carbon generation is close to 30%. The outlook for investments in nuclear power plants,

particularly in advanced economies, is highly uncertain. More countries have adopted liberalised and

unbundled electricity market systems; the perceived cost competitiveness of nuclear projects

compared with renewables and gas-fired power plants has deteriorated substantially; and social

acceptance of nuclear projects in general has worsened dramatically as a result of the Fukushima

Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident in 2011. While nuclear power production in advanced

economies is set to decline slightly by 2040 under current and proposed policies, current trends,

coupled with the lack of explicit policy support, could mean a much sharper decline. Without further

lifetime extensions or new projects, nuclear power production in advanced economies would drop by

two-thirds by 2040. This would result in additional cumulative emissions of 3 900 MtCO2 from these

economies, or 5%, over the next two decades, despite robust growth of renewables and investments

in energy efficiency to meet policy ambitions.”


Here are some of its conclusions:


Current low-carbon investments are not on track. Even if under current policies low-carbon

sources are expected to be the fastest-growing source of energy until 2040, this will not be

enough to fulfil the climate change mitigation goals of the Paris Agreement.

The power sector is extremely important in the global decarbonisation effort. While

electricity’s share in total final energy consumption is less than 20%, almost 40% of CO2

emissions are attributable to the electricity sector. Furthermore, deep decarbonisation of the

electricity system is necessary if electrification in transport, industry and other sectors is to

become the key to further decarbonisation.

Low-carbon sources’ total share in the energy mix has been kept at roughly the same level

as in the early 2000s. Despite the large investments in wind and solar over last ten years, these

efforts have only compensated for the low growth in other sources such as nuclear and


Even if wind and solar PV deployment could be accelerated, other low-carbon technologies

like dispatchable renewables, nuclear power and CCUS also need to be expanded at

massive scale to decarbonise the power sector. The level of additional renewable generation

sources required to achieve the Sustainable Development Scenario is already extremely high.

Expanding the level even more to make up for the lack of growth or decline in nuclear power or

CCUS implies enormous challenges in terms of not only additional costs but also land

availability and local acceptance.

Nuclear still is seen as having a place in the energy mix, but without any real enthusiasm.



G20 Karuizawa Innovation Action Plan on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth Energy and Environment

Preamble 1. Breakthrough innovations are an indispensable impetus for a virtuous cycle of environment and growth for leading energy transitions to improve the “3E+S” (Energy Security, Economic Efficiency, and Environment + Safety) as well as addressing key global issues and challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, resource efficiency, sustainable consumption and production, energy poverty, land, fresh water, marine and air pollution including PM2.5 and HFCs, urban environmental quality, and energy access. We emphasize the importance of promoting synergies and an inclusive approach when tackling related issues for sustainable growth in response to the energy and environment dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 2. We, the G20 members, have an important role in supporting the private sector in the promotion of innovation, investment, and a better business environment to develop and deploy affordable, reliable, sustainable, and low GHG emissions energy systems, and to achieve a cleaner, more resilient and sustainable future. Governments play a key role for innovation in providing clear signals and in creating an enabling environment. 3. In this regard, and on a voluntary basis, we take the concrete actions jointly and individually described below. This list is not intended to cover all activities for innovation and we continue to explore further cooperation. 4. We propose that international and regional organizations may (1) collect innovation policy information of G20 members, (2) expand their analysis to better identify “innovation gaps” and actions that support energy transitions and help achieve a cleaner environment, and (3) report to the G20 on their findings. We propose that the next presidency also tasks relevant organizations to work on the subject with guidance and expected outcomes and can utilize the innovation portal and innovation tracking in the energy sector of relevant international organizations. 5. We take the following voluntary actions for international cooperation on innovation. 6. We seek to enhance international cooperation in relevant existing fora and encourage, in a holistic manner, research, development and deployment of innovative technologies and approaches including air and water related technologies, behavioral science for life-style change, bioenergy, Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS), clean vehicles, deep renovation and Net Zero Energy Building, demand-side management, energy access technologies, energy efficiency technologies, energy storage, hydrogen, grid digitalization, 2 low carbon technologies, nature-based solutions, renewables, resilient and sustainable cities and communities with integration of technologies, and resource efficient technologies, depending on national circumstances. 7. We support the expansion of networks for innovation globally among industry, academia, and government in coordination with existing efforts. We also promote international collaboration among leading G20 members’ research and development institutes, universities and business to advance innovation for clean energy technologies and resource and energy efficiency and to explore further international joint research and development. We welcome the G20 Japanese Presidency’s initiative aimed at spurring innovation in the context of climate change through the international conference, called Research & Development 20 for clean energy technologies (“RD20”), while acknowledging the importance of creating synergies with existing R&D initiatives. 8. We recognize the importance of quantitative analysis on better understanding future energy demand and supply and the role of innovation of both sides driven by digitalization, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and the sharing economy. We encourage efforts made by the global scientific community and international organizations and frameworks to further refine and develop the full spectrum of economy-wide scenarios for energy and climate models. 9. We support efforts to mobilize finance and to improve the market and investment environment for various energy options, innovative technologies and quality infrastructure that enhance energy access, resilience, cleaner environment and water access. We support continued effort to mobilize private finance and investment, including from institutional investors, through public finance and risk mitigation measures such as trade insurance, while recognizing that public finance plays an important role. 10. We promote improving business environments for the power sector, including actions that increase security and flexibility of electricity and that embrace innovative storage and distribution technologies, responding to increasing variability due to increasing deployment of renewable energy. We support development of electricity market mechanisms that drive investmentsin grid and power sources by increasing the predictability of return on investment, such as capacity markets and market distortion avoidance. 11. We explore business matching, workshops and other international collaboration to improve business environments and encourage business activities. The following ideas are suggested from G20 members as possible areas: the development of energy saving labeling and standards, Global Energy Efficiency Benchmark by the IEA, eco-labeling and environmentally friendly public procurement criteria, enhanced transparency and harmonization of rules and 3 reaching out to local and smaller-scale markets. 12. We welcome launching analytical work to study and deliver recommendations or options on creating better business environments for nurturing business opportunities associated with cleaner environment in coordination with the relevant organizations and business communities, and focusing on public-private partnerships. 4 Energy Preamble The G20 Karuizawa Energy Innovation Action Plan is intended to strengthen our cooperative concrete activities on energy transitions on voluntary basis under Japanese presidency in 2019, adopted at the Ministerial Meeting in Karuizawa. This list does not intend to cover all collaborative or national activities for innovation and we will continue to explore further opportunities for cooperation. 1. We continue to collaborate on a broad range of issues in support of wasting less energy and energy transitions also through the G20 Energy Efficiency Leading Programme (EELP) and take note of the progress on the Energy Efficiency Hub. Noting the IEA’s work to develop the Global Energy Efficiency Benchmark, we continue to promote analyses on this with support of capable international and regional organizations in an inclusive manner and by sharing knowledge and best practices. 2. We share the importance of the work on behavior undertaken under Argentina’s presidency, and the need for policies, that can drive investments in energy efficiency. 3. We share our best practices in accelerating energy innovation including in the use of policy to provide a signal to markets, and implement capacity building programs, management models of electricity system to promote further expansion of renewable energy, recognizing the importance of new flexibility solutions such as demand side management and off-grid solutions and energy storage technologies. We will strive to share lessons on innovation and technology development to increase direct renewable energy use in the transport, heat and industry sectors. The G20 members stress the importance of policy frameworks, in accordance with their circumstances, that stimulate innovation ecosystems, and recognize the role of startups and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in promoting energy transitions. 4. We encourage the work of IRENA, the IEA and CEM to continue their work to analyze key technologies for energy transitions to further utilization of renewable energy. IRENA and IEA are encouraged to analyze the impact of energy efficiency in promoting renewable energies. We also support and encourage the work of the IEA, IRENA, the Biofuture Platform, MI, International Solar Alliance (ISA) and other international initiatives in promoting sustainable bioenergy and other renewable energy development and deployment, and will increase our cooperation under these fora. 5. We support the acceleration of our work that will lead to concrete actions which were summarized in the chair’s summary at Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting (HEM) 2018, including exchange of best practices, international joint research, evaluation of hydrogen’s potential, e.g. for power to x, outreach and addressing regulatory barriers, codes and standards. We promote further international cooperation and discuss concrete actions through frameworks 5 such as HEM 2019 (autumn), the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), Mission Innovation (MI) and the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE), and ask relevant international and regional organizations such as the IEA, IRENA and the ERIA to develop the analysis of potential pathways to a hydrogen-enabled clean energy future, including the use of methanol and ethanol as hydrogen carriers in fuel cells. We note that hydrogen as well as other synthetic fuels can play a major role in in the clean energy future with a view to long-term strategies. 6. We strengthen international collaboration on development and deployment of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) under the frameworks such as CEM, MI, the International CCUS Summit and the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF). In particular, we recognize the importance of (A) Preparing national readiness assessments or action plans, including developing policy and regulatory frameworks that provide investment certainty, (B) Engaging financial institutions, and (C) Facilitating large-scale CCUS chains, depending on national circumstances. 7. To explore international cooperation on “Carbon Recycling” and “Emissions to Value” among industry, academia and government, we facilitate discussions on research and development, stable investment environments, and attracting finance for innovative technologies through opportunities such as the International Conference on Carbon Recycling to be held in September 2019. 8. To explore and expand the potential of digitalization of the energy sector, including in developing more robust and comprehensive energy data to support energy transitions, improving the flexibility of power systems, enabling more efficient energy use through smarter cities, intelligent transport systems and behavioral changes, we note the IEA’s initiative to hosting additional workshops on the interlinkage between digitalization and other policy aims including energy efficiency in hopes of considering on potential outline on how digitalization, e.g. through smart meters, other flexibility options and smart grids, can accelerate the smart production and use of energy and improve grid security and resilience. We also encourage continued work on how to mitigate the potential increased energy demand associated with the digitalization of our economies. 9. We share the importance of analyzing the life cycle of various energy resources from production to end use. Analyses on the energy value chain enhances the efficient and cleaner use of energy resources and can incentivize innovation in areas such as vehicles including life cycle analysis and Well-to-Wheel analysis. We acknowledge efforts of international fora such as Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) and Biofuture Platform by sharing technology challenges and recognize their role in furthering best practices. 6 10. We strive to share our best practices and future policy insights on power systems in order to expand low emissions investment and demand side management, biomass power generation, electricity storage, increase connectivity, enhance flexibility, and increase resiliency. We promote knowledge exchange on technologies for system integration of variable renewables under international frameworks such as the IEA, IRENA, MI and CEM, ISA and Biofuture Platform. We note relevant international organization’s work such as the IEA to analyze developments in electricity markets and the conditions necessary to support investment in low emissions power systems and power system transformation, and to share those analyses through workshops, publications and in other forms. 11. Those countries that opt to continue utilizing nuclear energy encourage the progress in exploring opportunities to collaborate on advanced nuclear energy technologies, including small modular reactors, and innovative uses of nuclear energy including integration of nuclear and renewables, and heat usage, in collaboration with relevant international organizations such as International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) , and the IEA and cooperating under international fora including the CEM NICE Future initiative. 12. Those countries that are using, plan to use or have used nuclear energy support accelerating cooperation on final disposal of high-level radioactive waste, and safe and efficient decommissioning. They are invited to share experience and expertise of public dialogue activities and to promote technical cooperation for final disposal of high-level radioactive waste, among countries using nuclear power, including through an international roundtable organized by OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). As to decommissioning, they share experience and knowledge on regulation, project management, and other points, in IAEA and other relevant international organizations. 13. We further encourage efforts at various international fora to increase market liquidity, flexibility and transparency as well as open fair and transparent competition and cooperation to support the role of natural gas in new sectors such as transportation including bunkering in the maritime industry, and utilization of small scale LNG. We discuss measures to enhance the security of natural gas such as sharing knowledge and the best practices on mid and long term natural gas supply security as well as on emergency response. We enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperative frameworks, such as the annual LNG Producer-Consumer Conference, that support development of a flexible and transparent global LNG market as well as enhancing energy security of the LNG value chain, in the context of transitions toward lower emission energy systems. 14. We promote producer-consumer dialogue as facilitator of stable and transparent market including through the framework of International Energy Forum (IEF). We note the discussion at High Efficiency Low Emission (HELE) working group last autumn, which includes the role of HELE 7 technologies and promoting investment and funding of advanced and cleaner fossil fuel technologies, and continue HELE working group activities. 15. We highlight the importance and the urgency of advancing universal access to affordable, sustainable and modern energy services and clean cooking facilities, and we will explore ways to enhance the implementation of G20 regional energy action plans. We highlight the important role of international cooperation and public-private partnerships on sustainable technological, financial, business model, policy and planning innovation in line with the spirit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We also highlight the important role of community-based approaches in promoting energy access.



a) Outcomes

b) Related Reports on Energy session

b-1: Deliverables

·  Technology innovation to accelerate energy transitions, prepared with the support of the IEA

·  The future of Hydrogen, prepared with the support of the IEA

·  Securing investments in low carbon power generation sources, prepared with the support of the IEA

·  Accelerating Energy Efficiency Progress in G20 Economies ", prepared with the support of IPEEC

·  Solutions to Integrate High Shares of Variable Renewable Energy, prepared with the support of IRENA

·  Demand and Supply Potential of Hydrogen Energy in East Asia, prepared with the support of ERIA

b-2: Update Report


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