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G20 nations commit to end public finance of unabated coal abroad by end-2021

Highlights

Mirrors China's coal finance commitment

Group to 'significantly reduce' own emissions

Recognizes importance of methane leaks

G20 leaders have committed to end international public finance for new unabated coal-fired power generation abroad by the end of 2021, but failed to commit to a phase-out deadline for their own coal-fired generation in an Oct. 31 declaration.

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The statement followed a September pledge made by China's President Xi Jinping to end finance for new coal mining and power projects outside China from Q4 2021, a move expected to impact at last 54 GW of proposed China-backed capacity.

"We commit to mobilize international public and private finance to support green, inclusive and sustainable energy development and we will put an end to the provision of international public finance for new unabated coal power generation abroad by the end of 2021," the G20 declaration said.

On their own abatement plans, the group of leading economies said they would "commit to significantly reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions, taking into account national circumstances and respecting our NDCs [nationally-determined contributions under the UN's Paris Agreement]."

Power sector emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels account for a greater share of the global total than those from industry or transport.

Of forecast total global emissions of 33.25 billion metric tons in 2021, coal alone is set to account for 14.62 billion mt, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics' Future Energy Outlooks.

The G20 declaration also recognized the damage done by methane emissions, noting their reduction "can be one of the quickest, most feasible and most cost-effective ways to limit climate change and its impacts."

Methane, a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, is the largest component of indirect emissions from the production of oil and gas.

Indirect emissions from oil are between 10% and 30% of full lifecycle emissions intensity, while for natural gas they are between 15% and 40%, according to the International Energy Agency.

S&P Global Platts launched its methane performance certificate assessment Oct. 4, with an inaugural price of 4.5 cents/MPC. This converts to $7.260/mtCO2e.

Platts' MPC assessment reflects the price of certificates traded in the spot market with the certificates traded separately from the physical gas. These certificates represent avoided methane emissions from the production of a specific volume of natural gas in the contiguous US and Canada.

The G20 represents over 80% of the world's economic output. It comprises 19 countries and the European Union. Those countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US.