Energy ministers from some of the world's largest economies on Friday linked for an unprecedented global summit over how to put renewables at the centre of post-coronavirus recovery plans – but the US and China were absent from the ‘cloudroom’.
Danish climate & energy minister Dan Jørgensen claimed after the meeting that the “contours of a green coalition” had emerged from the 23-strong videoconference.
The global clean energy sector is pushing hard for massive economic revival plans being drawn up by governments to focus on a ‘green stimulus’ that turns the damage done by the pandemic into an opportunity to make progress in the climate fight – rather than throwing recovery cash at fossil and other 'dying' industries.
Friday’s event co-hosted by Danish government and the International Energy Agency (IEA) brought together energy ministers from a number of European nations – including Germany, France and the UK – along with the EU, plus others such as India, Canada, Indonesia and New Zealand. Company leaders and organisations such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) also took part.
But the world’s biggest polluter, China, and its largest economy, the US, were absent from the discussions, which the co-hosts said marked the start of a initiative to link green industries and jobs to economic revival.
IEA executive director Fatih Birol said: “We have managed to bring together a diverse, high-level group of ministers, leaders of international organisations and prominent business people. By acting together, we can have far greater impact.”
Jørgensen added: “We are facing a huge task of restoring the world's economies, but at the same time it also provides an opportunity to set a new green course for the world.
“The green transition must be an engine of the economic recovery we are facing. The support for the initiative and the agenda that we have set today is very uplifting.”
Asked by Recharge about the absence of the US and China from the meeting – and whether the global green stimulus initiative is weakened as a result – a spokesman for the Danish energy ministry said Denmark is actively working with individual US states and the Chinese government to promote clean energy.
The nations taking part were already involved in an IEA initiative focused on green economic stimulus, the spokesman added, when asked if China and the US federal government had been invited to participate.