Global Tables on Climate Change and Environment
At the core of the Digital Global Solutions Summit are Global Tables, each tackling the T20 and G20 agenda as well as generating policies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Global Tables are filled with keynotes, discussions, interviews and impulse statements by high-ranking representatives from research, politics, business and civil society.
If anything, the COVID-19 crisis adds another layer to the complexity and urgency of finding effective solutions in the fight against climate change. Although COP 26 has been postponed to 2021, the challenge for the presidents and heads of states set to meet in Scotland remains: They must agree on sufficiently strong plans to keep global greenhouse gas emissions within limits that prevent dangerous climate change – a challenge that was left unresolved in the hallmark 2015 Paris climate agreement and in climate talks since. Emissions cuts in all sectors of the economy will be required as will smart policies and incentives to enables these cuts. Although the massive financial emergency and stimulus packages that are currently put together in response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be a huge opportunity for driving investment into the zero-carbon transformation, they are also a huge liability if the bulk of the funding goes to high-carbon activities and prolongs their lifetime.
How should economic stimulus measures aimed at stabilising the world economy in the COVID-19 crisis be designed and implemented to support the transformation to zero carbon economies? What can the G20 to do inject dynamic and ambition into international climate talks? How can international coordination of carbon pricing systems, together with policies that enable a just zero carbon transition, increase the support for climate action and enable higher level of emission cuts?
German Minister for the Environment
European Climate Foundation
Digital technologies are indispensable to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet IT technology has an immense energy requirement for its countless computers and devices, its massive amounts of data and global networks. As a result, more CO2 is released today through digital technologies than all air traffic worldwide, and the energy consumption is increasing due to the rapid spread of digital solutions throughout the world. Every single data transfer consumes energy. Every new data center with its high-performance computers has to be supplied with tons of electricity, and large amounts of energy have to be cooled. Training a single AI model can emit as much carbon as five cars do throughout their lifespans. Deep learning, which trains AI applications, is not only computationally expensive, it is also highly energy intensive and has an immense carbon footprint. Research efforts must be drastically increased in order to find ways to make digital technologies more energy efficient and climate friendly. HPI launched the Clean-IT initiative to present new algorithmic approaches of how digital technologies can be part of the solution of climate crisis – not its accelerator.
German Ministry for the Environment
UN Office of Information & Communication Technology
Hasso Plattner Institute, Germany
Moderator: Astrid Frohloff
The School of Design Thinking, South Africa
The International Energy Agency predicts that global energy consumption will rise more than 25% by 2040, with the sharpest increase in emerging and developing economies. In fact, demand will double in some of these countries within this period. To comply with the goals set out in the Paris climate agreement, investment in renewable energies must increase substantially in order to meet the additional demand with energy from clean sources. This objective can only be achieved by mobilising much larger amounts of private capital. However, and despite the continuing phase of zero interest and even negative interest rates, major obstacles to investing in such projects persist, in particular in developing and emerging economies, where potential hurdles include political risk, complex contracts and a lack of compatibility with funding structures in industrialised countries. The panel “Green finance in emerging and developing markets” at the Global Solutions Summit will discuss possible solutions and ways of systematic cooperation to overcome these challenges, taking the recommendations of the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance as a starting point for the discussion.
Climate Investment Funds
It is increasingly clear that to stay within the limits agreed with the Paris Agreement, all possible climate mitigation options and pathways must be seriously considered. The need to substantially reduce CO2 emissions, including in “hard to abate” sectors, raises the interest in mitigation options such as storing or (re-using) CO2 emissions, or using biomass and renewables based-fuels. However, the growing awareness for the need, potential and applicability of these technologies raises the question of potential trade-offs and use conflicts, e.g. regarding the total availability of biomass and renewable electricity or the capacity and feasibility of CO2 transport and storage infrastructure. This panel will start from the concept of a circular carbon economy to discuss the full picture and potential of main climate mitigation levers (reduction, re-use and storage of CO2) for different sectors; together with potential tradeoffs and solutions.
Moderator: Conny Czymoch
If, as many have argued, the COVID-19 crisis represents a critical juncture, state and non-state actors must work together to ensure a recovery that considers broader objectives than growth alone.
The discussion will especially focus on the broad public engagement and structured deliberation that can underpin sustained collective change across government, business and civil society. Learning from the growing number of citizens’ assemblies and conventions on climate action around the world, the aim of this global table is to highlight ways that governments at different levels can build a social and political mandate for climate policies through deliberative democratic processes and other participatory methods.
Policy Recommendations, Policy Briefs and Articles
Policy Briefs contain recommendations and visions and cover policy ares that are of interest to G20 policymakers. The majority of the Policy Briefs has been developed by a corresponding T20 Task Force.
Contributions by the Young Global Changers
Ninety young people from around the world were selected to participate in the Global Solutions Summit as Young Global Changers. These young changemakers from academica, business and civil society will contribute and debate in their various working groups on the Summit topics.
Explore the Digital Global Solutions Summit 2020
You can navigate to content related to the Global Solutions Summit here. Discover the T20 agenda, an overview of all Global Tables, meet the speakers and read the latest issue of the Global Solutions Journal. Also navigate to the G20 Insights Platform offers policy proposals to the G20: The Policy Briefs, produced by Task Forces from the Think20 (T20) Group and other sources, are clustered in policy areas and describe either recommendations or visions.
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