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The climate-energy nexus and the G20: Compatible or mutually exclusive?

Climate-Energy Nexus and the G20 adelphi

Commitment to global climate action is stronger than ever before, with the Paris Agreement entering into force on 4 November and fresh advances at COP22 in Morocco. The pledge to achieve global decarbonisation could prove to be a game changer in both the climate and energy policy arenas. Yet, climate protection still receives little attention within some major international fora dealing with a broad range of key global issues. The G20 is one crucial example. In 2016 there have been some promising developments under the Chinese presidency on addressing the climate and energy nexus. Germany’s upcoming G20 presidency provides a chance to translate the ambition of the Paris Agreement into a roadmap for the phase-out of fossil fuels over the coming decades.

What is the current and what will be the future role of the climate-energy nexus in the G20? Did the adoption and entry into force of the Paris Agreement influence the agenda of the G20 fora or vice versa? To what extent are the G20 members already addressing the climate-energy nexus as part of their overall policy portfolio? Will there be a place for the climate-energy nexus in the future, given the recent political shifts in the G20 such as Brexit or the result of the US presidential election?

To provide answers to these questions, this paper critically assesses the status of approaches to address the climate-energy nexus in the G20 countries, the outcomes of China’s G20 presidency with regard to climate and energy issues, as well as their interconnection, and provides recommendations for the climate and energy agenda of the German G20 presidency in 2017.