G20 failed to live up to the call of the times: WCRE demands for 100 % renewable energies

Last week the Heads of State and Governments of the 20 economically strongest industrialized and threshold countries met in Hamburg. The hosting German government has put the topics of Energy and Climate on the agenda.

But in 2017 it would have taken far more than good intentions and political speeches at a summer-meeting that is not constituted democratically and has no real legitimacy under international law. WCRE demanded that the participants take concrete steps towards the rapid conversion of the energy industry to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. This expansion is urgently necessary. And it is also possible: this is demonstrated by the progress even in the face of political restrictions: The share of renewables in power generation grew by 70 percent in the G20 countries from 2011 to 2016; in the UK 300%. Germany was able to increase its share by 360 percent – a growth rate that the conservative government now wants to stop.

Bonn, July 10, 2017 – The states that gathered at the summit on 7 and 8 July in Hamburg account for 85 percent of global economic output. They govern over 62 per cent of the world's population, or almost 4.7 billion people. At the same time, they are responsible for 80 percent of pollutant emissions and directly accountable for severe global environmental pollution, resource consumption and climate change. That is why WCRE appeals to those states, and especially to the hosting federal government of Germany, to finally live up to their responsibilities – especially where they are actually govern: in their home nations. Instead of causing enormous summit costs in the million Euro range, to divert 15,000 police forces from protecting the local population and to set up a 38 square kilometer large assembly prohibition zone, the governments involved should do their homework – especially in the field of renewable energies – in their own countries first. They should remove restrictions in their countries, such as regressive limits, eliminate fossil and nuclear subsidies, and stamp out the systemic corruption that permeates the conventional energy sector in its influence on the captive public policy environment.

Real energy policy for Renewables instead of misleading promises

“The governments of the G20 must finally fulfill their responsibilities and show real global leadership by removing all national and international obstacles to the rapid and comprehensive local and regional expansion of renewable energy systems. In doing so, they will not only support peace, harmonious development and democratic justice, but build the necessary foundation for the rapid achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is high time to reassign the trillions of dollars in currently wasted armament costs and conventional energy subsidies for peaceful, future-minded purposes – and to rapidly implement local energy systems world-wide in the paramount challenge of our times: the fight against the manifest and imminent existential threat of climate change”, stated WCRE’s General Chairman Prof. Peter Droege.

Looking back at the G7 summit in Elmau in 2015 we see the risk of such lofty events being simply used for government marketing. With a promise to "decarbonize" the world economy by the year 2100 – an absurdly late goal, which, if taken seriously, would actually mean a dramatic slowing down of the progress that is already under way – Angela Merkel emerged as the "Climate chancellor" under great applause. A thousand meters above sea level extensive media-effective lip service was paid – obscuring the actual policies rolled out to slow down and even reverse the energy transition. Subscribing to the Paris Agreement clearly does not contradict the continued subsidy of coal, gas, oil and uranium. The fact of a continued rapid rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration while overall emission increases have leveled off is being missed: emissions must be at least lowered by a rate that compensates for the current rise caused by stressed terrestrial carbon cycle systems.

The Paris Convention must be converted from an agreement for the de facto promotion of nuclear power to an agreement for the pursuit of full renewable energy for all, world-wide. Renewable energies are actually mentioned only once in the Paris "Climate Protection Agreement", and only in relation to Africa. However, a reasonable climate protection is not possible without a decentralized global use of renewable energies. We call for a clear commitment from the heads of state of the so-called G20 summit to a decentralized energy supply, which is 100 percent based on renewable energies and we expect the states represented by them to become anchored in this goal in the Paris Agreement.

Concrete steps for 100 % renewable energy for all

WCRE places the energy issue at the center of debate. It plays a decisive role for current and future economic structures and dynamics. In contract international forums such as the G20 summit risk disqualifying themselves if they continue to recognize nuclear energy as a climate-friendly form of energy – ignoring the catastrophic incidents of the past. Nuclear technology prevents social prosperity by sidestepping the reality of massive public cost burdens in fuel procurement, generation and the unsolved waste storage question, and by accumulating centralized value - instead of distributing access to prosperity widely: the very essence of renewable energy. WCRE is requesting from the leaders of the G20 summit a clear commitment to a decentralized energy supply fully based on renewable energies,.

The immediate reduction of all financial and regulatory subsidies for nuclear energy and all fossil energies is indispensable. In the cost underwriting of oil, gas, uranium and coal there can be no meaningful distinction in "efficient" and "inefficient" subsidies, as summit documents want to make us believe. Renewable energies need reliable framework conditions, such as a New Energy Market Order outlined by WCRE, in all countries and in the world. The decentralized use of renewables must be placed in the center. The convergence of markets for electricity, heat and transport must also be actively facilitated in order to create an efficient and flexible, integrated renewable energy market. The support of renewable energies must be permitted at least until the end of subsidies for conventional energy sources to compensate for the decade-long discrimination against renewable energies. This is to be stated in all international trade agreements and in the WTO Treaty.

Promote science in renewable energy and energy efficiency

Objective science and education must be promoted as well as general freedom of information and an honest and rational discourse about the costs and benefits of regenerative energies compared to fossil or nuclear energy. The enormous technological potentials in the areas of renewable energies, storage and energy efficiency must be further developed and applied as soon as possible through targeted investment in research and launch programs.

Rassign military budgets for renewable energy

A peaceful world without resource conflicts is the necessary basis for responsible economic trade and balanced trade relations. Only a solar economy based on a decentralized use of renewable energies does not depend on securing access to raw materials by military force and the support of despotic regimes. The global military and armaments budgets must therefore be promptly redesigned to invest in a decentralized and resilient renewable energy economy based on local self-responsibility and decentralized energy autonomy. It must also take into account of the fact that a decentralized energy supply based on locally available renewable energies is considerably less sensitive to attacks from outside and is therefore an essential component of civilian defense. The principle of ‚climate for peace’ is to be upheld: a cessation of hostilities and violent conflict to allow a united front against the perils of climate change.

See replacement of fossil-nuclear energy supply as an economic chance

In full cost and life cycle terms, renewable energies are far more cost-effective than any other means of energy supply. Without decades of subsidies for coal and nuclear power, they would already be in place today. There would be no need for emergency aid for the victims of oil wars in Yemen or Sudan, nor would partnership programs be undertaken for Africa if the G20 countries finally ceased to plunder entire continents for their resource profit. Instead, they would have to allow regional value creation on the basis of renewable energies. The abandonment of fossil and nuclear energy sources, accompanied by comprehensive structural and fiscal reforms, will not only slow down climate change and remove the fuel from resource conflicts. It will have a positive impact on economic development, employment and health and should therefore be seen as what it is: a historic growth opportunity for all states, including those who are not allowed to participate in the meeting.

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