This past weekend, the Mexican beaches of the Gulf of California—also known as the Sea of Cortés—welcomed political leaders from all over the world for the 2012 G20 summit. The most pressing issue discussed at the meetings was the European crisis and the approach that member countries of the E.U. can take in order to enhance their collaboration and boost their economy. However, even though it did not receive as much attention as other topics, the discussion of growing the global renewable energy industry was present throughout the summit along with some interesting conclusions from different participants.
From the business perspective, the CEOs of Vestas and Enel Green Power (both companies are focused on the renewable energy sector in several countries around the world) co-chaired the G20 Business Summit Task Force on Green Growth, urging global leaders to adopt policies that will help to “green and grow the economy in environmentally, economically and socially sustainable ways.”
Ditley Engel, the President and CEO of Vestas, said:
“Growing the economy requires government and business to play their different, but mutually reinforcing roles. Governments have to create policy frameworks that re-balance economic incentives to clearly favor green investments. With the right policy frameworks, business will make the investments, take the risks, and create the new business opportunities that the green economic transformation promises.”
According to REVE, the B20 Task Force on Green Growth created the Green Growth Action Alliance, a public-private partnership initiative that comprises many of the world’s largest energy companies, international financial institutions and development finance institutions. This alliance was created as a first step to boost public and private investment in green infrastructure. Members include global companies such as Vestas Wind Systems, Accenture, Samsung Electronics, KfW Bankengruppe, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank Group and Enel, as well as public organizations such as the World Bank Group, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Climate Policy Initiative and the United Nations Foundation among others.
President Felipe Calderón accepted the role of honorary chairman of the Green Growth Action Alliance. He said:
“The G20 Mexican Presidency welcomes this initiative and supports its efforts to define the practical steps business can take, in partnership with government, to deliver the green growth agenda. The Alliance will also plan an important role in tracking our progress in leveraging private finance for green growth.”
Despite of this, aspiring presidential candidate of the Nueva Alianza party, Gabriel Quadri de la Torre, expressed his feelings of disappointment as he felt that the G20 summit did not properly address the issue of Climate Change and the solutions that could be adopted to mitigate its effect.
“The lack of acting on time implies that by the time we decide to act, the costs and challenges of doing so will be much greater and the fact is that climate change is already irreversible even if we decide to act, our past actions have already made a dent on the stability of our planet’s climate and all that is left to do is adapt. Mexico needs to do some serious thinking on how to adapt.”
Whether the Head of States that met in Los Cabos for the G20 summit managed to solve the issue of climate change overnight or not, one thing can be stated firmly: more than ever, renewable energy and sustainable development are relevant issues and their urgency has been taken into account by most nations in the past few years. This alone symbolizes a huge step and a shift of mindset in the protection of our environment and its resources.
At this very moment, Río+20 is taking place and the news from the conferences related to sustainable energy have been carried out with a positive note. According to Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations who spoke at the conference on Sustainable Development, more than one hundred commitments and actions have been already mobilized in support of the UN’s global sustainable energy initiative.
In his own words:
“Achieving sustainable energy for all is not only possible, but necessary – it is the golden thread that connects development, social inclusion and environmental protection.”