The G20 summit has recently wrapped up, which saw both presidents from the US and China ratify the Paris climate change agreement. Both countries are two of the largest contributors to carbon emissions, which is contributing to climate change and global warming.
The actions by these leaders should provoke other countries and their economies around the world to spring into action.
26 other countries also said that they will ratify the agreement and take action. So what can be expected from some of the countries that attended the summit?
The Australian government has already started providing its local governments with budgets and incentive programs to help businesses become more sustainable. Businesses in the states of New South Wales and Victoria are being offering discounts through their state-sponsored schemes in order to upgrade to more energy-efficient technology. The main driver has been the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs and the need to upgrade to energy-efficient light bulbs such as halogen or LED lights.
This shift isn’t only good for the environment, but it is great for the local economy. LED light supplier LEDified Lighting Corporation has seen the local market expand and predict at least another 25% growth in the sustainable lighting sector this year, which will create more jobs opportunities in Australia.
The Asian superpower has pledged to reduce their carbon emissions from the power sector by 60% by the year 2020. Beijing has one of the worst smog issues in the world and the country is fully aware of the impact carbon emissions has on the global climate and the health of its citizens. Data released in 2016 showed that carbon emissions reduced by 3% compared to 2015, due to the contraction of heavy industrial sectors and the expansion of renewable energies such as wind farms.
Should China continue to be aggressive with their transition to a more sustainable economy, they will continue to reduce carbon emissions and surpass the targets that they promised in the Paris Agreement.
They have been bold to be the nation that leads the rest of the world into action, but it will be interesting to see how things will be managed back on American soil. Although Obama has promised that the US will commit to the Paris Agreement, Republican Presidential nominee Donald J. Trump has said that he will not acknowledge the Paris Agreement or climate change should he be elected as the next American President.
Secondly, the US has an ambitious target to reduce carbon emissions by less than 17% compared to emission levels in 2005 by the year 2020. They face a race against time and despite their good intentions, it is a steep challenge to accomplish in the next 3 years.
The US has agencies such as the EPA and clean energy programs in place. However, for them to achieve their target they will need to persuade the nation’s largest coal energy suppliers who also happen to be some of the nation’s largest pollutants. The other challenge is that the idea of switching to clean energy is great, however the energy supply from solar panels isn’t enough to meet the demands of the American market.
Some of the ways this can be improved is by educating Americans about their energy consumption habits and the need to invest in ‘Energy Star’ technology. However, the US needs an economically viable solution that will allow the successful migration of energy generated from fossil fuels to clean energy from wind and solar.
The outlook is optimistic, however it isn’t without its challenges. China are achieving their economic targets by leaps and bounds, however they still have so much to do to minimise their country’s contribution to carbon emissions. The US seems optimistic at the moment, however there is a cloud of uncertainty that will hang over the country until after the Presidential nomination. It’s good that these two global leaders are on the right track and hopefully the other G20 nations will follow in their footsteps and implement practical actions that will gain ecological quick wins just as Australia has done so far.