Joe Biden and Narendra Modi and other G20 leaders in New Delhi on Sunday

G20 ‘lost action’ on fossil fuels as it raises green energy targets

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G20 leaders “failed to act” on the most important aspect of mitigating climate change, the groups announced, after major economies failed to set a deadline for the end of fossil fuel use without curbing emissions.

The Group of 20 countries, which account for about 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, agreed on goals to triple the amount of renewable energy by 2030 worldwide, taking their advice from the G7 earlier this year.

But the leaders’ announcement failed to include any reference to the phase-out of oil and gas, despite the burning of fossil fuels being the biggest contributor to human-caused global warming.

They only committed to the “phasedown” of coal “in accordance with national conditions”, and refrained from referring to the elimination of all polluting fuels.

The move was deemed “essential” by the United Nations in the latest assessment of nearly 200 countries’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.greenhouse.

In the UN’s first ever “global stock-taking”, it found that the world is off track to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals of reducing global warming to 2C, or ideally 1.5C, above pre-industrial levels.

“To have any chance of meeting the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C warming target, a sharp reduction in the production and use of all fossil fuels . . . are important, and in this regard, the G20 leaders are missing,” said Alden Meyer, senior partner at E3G, a climate consultancy.

Attention will now turn to whether countries can agree on a phase-out of all fossil fuels at COP28, the UN climate conference that will take place at the end of the year in Dubai, despite growing geopolitical tensions.

Saudi Arabia and China led efforts by the fossil fuel-dependent economy to prevent an agreement on the end of fossil fuels during the G20 meetings of climate and energy ministers in July.

According to people familiar with the discussions, Saudi Arabia pushed back against the renewable energy target, instead calling for a major increase in the use of carbon capture and storage technologies that would allow for continued production of oil and gas.

A proposal from India to phase out fossil fuels at COP27 last year won the support of more than 80 countries. The EU is expected to step up emissions at this year’s climate summit, along with other countries.

While there was no agreement on fossil fuels, the G20 pledge to increase green energy was widely accepted.

Sultan al-Jaber of the UAE, the president-elect of COP28, said he is “especially grateful for the commitment” that includes ambitions aimed at renewing energy, aiming to reach a global agreement on COP28.

Andreas Sieber,’s associate director of policy and campaigns, said the agreement to triple renewable energy “is a historic step, a ray of hope in our battle against climate chaos”.

Western officials say getting support from developing countries for ambitious climate goals is one trade-off made to remove more critical Russian language from a section of the joint statement referring to Moscow’s war against Ukraine.

With regard to carbon capture devices, which are not proven in scale, the G20 declaration said that in addition to increasing renewable energy, countries agreed to show “the same ambitions with regard to other zero and low-emission technologies, including waste and removal technologies, in accordance with national conditions in 2030” .

They also agreed on the need to mobilize $4tn annually by 2030 in financing clean energy technologies in developing countries to achieve emissions reductions by 2050. dealing with climate change.

During the summit, the G20 agreed to include the African Union as a member of the group. Mohamed Adow, founder and director of Powershift Africa, said the inclusion of countries “on the front line of the climate crisis” will hopefully “provide an impact to improve the quality and urgency of the G20’s response to climate change”.

Additional reporting by Henry Foy in New Delhi

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