G20 leaders recognise IEA’s work on tracking sustainable recoveries

Leaders of the G20 group of major economies recognised the International Energy Agency’s work to track the sustainability of economic recovery plans worldwide, as G20 countries pledged to deliver more funding to boost clean energy and tackle climate change. 

Meeting in Rome over the weekend, leaders of the world’s largest economies highlighted their commitment to boosting investment in clean energy technologies. In the G20 Rome Leaders’ Declaration, they encouraged the continued updating of the IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Tracker, which measures how much of the spending mobilised by governments in response to the Covid-19 crisis is going towards clean energy. The Sustainable Recovery Tracker was launched in July as a key IEA contribution to Italy’s Presidency of the G20 this year.

“I welcome the G20’s focus on accelerating the deployment of clean energy and their acknowledgement of the IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Tracker as a key tool to monitor where spending is being directed compared with what is needed to meet international climate and sustainable development goals,” said IEA Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol. 

The Sustainable Recovery Tracker assesses how current spending packages measure up against the IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Plan, which was published in June 2020 and sets out a path to accelerate the transition to net zero emissions while supporting economic growth, job creation and energy access.

The latest update of the Tracker last week shows that spending on clean energy amounts to just 3% of the USD 16.9 trillion that governments have so far mobilised to cushion their economies from the effects of the pandemic, up from about 2% in July. The current level of recovery spending going towards clean energy is only 40% of the recommended levels in the Sustainable Recovery Plan. This comes at a time when global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have resumed an upward trajectory, and are on track to register the second largest annual increase in history. 

The IEA analysis also highlights that clean energy spending is highly unbalanced, with most of it taking place in advanced economies and much less in developing and emerging economies, where it is urgently needed given the more rapid pace of their energy demand growth.

“There remains an alarming gap between the climate pledges that governments are making and the money they are actually putting on the table,” Dr Birol said. “Governments have an enormous responsibility to boost investment in clean energy, which creates well-paid jobs and enhances economic efficiency, while protecting the planet from the worst effects of climate change.”

Dr. Birol has been discussing the Tracker’s latest findings in his meetings with world leaders at COP26 in Glasgow, including at an event with French Minister Barbara Pompili today.

The IEA will provide more insights on the state of the clean energy transition on 4 November when it releases the latest update of its Tracking Clean Energy Progress, which assesses the current state of play across dozens of key energy technologies and provides recommendations on what is needed in the technology space to meet long-term climate and energy goals. All of the IEA’s tracking resources are freely available on a new Clean Energy Transitions Indicators page.