G20 meet on climate fails to reach consensus

On issues like scaling up renewable energy, phasing out fossil fuels, especially coal, amid changing weather patterns
Representational image of G20 logo. (Photo | G20 website)
Representational image of G20 logo. (Photo | G20 website)

CHENNAI:  The G20 climate and environment ministers’ meeting on Friday concluded without a consensus on key burning issues such as scaling up renewable energy use and phasing out fossil fuels, especially coal, amid weather records being shattered across the globe.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation, July this year was the hottest month on record.
While no joint communiqué was forthcoming, only a chair’s summary was issued by India, which holds the G20 presidency, and an outcome document detailing the countries’ stand on various matters was published. However, after the press conference, Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav said the member countries agreed on 64 out of 68 paragraphs that were taken up for discussion and claimed to have achieved 95 per cent success.

This meeting was crucial for setting the agenda for the G20 leaders’ summit in September in New Delhi. The G20 countries are the world’s 20 largest economies emitting greater than 80 per cent of greenhouse gases. They will deliberate on the outcome of a document in the run-up to the COP28 due in Dubai this year-end.

While G20 countries have agreed on some critical issues such as reversing land degradation, accelerating ecosystem restoration and halting biodiversity loss and promoting resilient blue economy, there was no breakthrough on drastically scaling up renewable energy use and reach an agreement on phasing out fossil fuels, especially coal.

The outcome document and chair’s summary says, “Some countries emphasised the need for global peaking of emissions no later than 2025 and reduction in emissions by 60 per cent by 2035... some members stated the need for reaching Net Zero by 2040 by developed countries. There exist divergent views among G20 members on the issue of energy transitions,” the document reads.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who addressed the G20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Ministerial Meeting via video conferencing, said India has led the way through its ambitious ‘Nationally Determined Contribution.’

“India achieved its installed electric capacity from non-fossil fuel sources, nine years ahead of the target of 2030. And, we have set the bar even higher through our updated targets. Today, India is one of the top five countries in the world, in terms of installed renewable energy capacity,” he said.

Replying to a question from TNIE on the issue of climate finance, Bhupendra Yadav had recalled the commitment made by developed countries to the goal of mobilising jointly $100 billion climate finance per year by 2020, and annually through 2025, to address the needs of developing countries. 

“India’s stand is clear. Developing countries need finance and technological transfers. The developed countries must fulfill the commitments made in earlier COP meetings. The definition of climate finance must also be made clear.”

The outcome document also states that developed country contributors expect (climate finance) this goal to be met for the first time in 2023. Earlier, COP 28 President Sultan al Jaber and the United Nation’s climate chief Simon Stiell had spoken at the Chennai meeting and urged G20 countries to issue an ambitious statement that will make sure the world is on track to keep global warming within 1.5 degree Celsius (2.7 degree Fahrenheit).

In a joint statement, the two climate leaders had said that the outcome from the G20 energy ministers’ meeting did not provide a sufficiently clear signal for transforming global energy systems, scaling up renewable and clean energy sources and responsibly phasing down fossil fuels. They had urged the climate ministers’ meeting in Chennai to commit to “more ambitious action across all pillars of the Paris Agreement.”


  •  Issues related to mitigation including the findings of the latest IPCC report and global modelled pathways 
  •  The need for a global peaking of emissions no later than 2025 and reduction in emissions by 60% by 2035 over 2019 levels 
  •  Gaps in climate scenarios and models, depleting carbon budgets, historical, current and projected emissions

The need for action for reducing non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions including methane by 2030

Investment requirements in clean energy technologies to reach net zero, as well as for a global transformation to a low-carbon economy

Issue of financing including developing countries’ financial needs to implement their NDCs, transformation of the financial systems, Article 2.1c, and Article 9 of the Paris Agreement regarding support from developed countries

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