Will G20 countries reach consensus on climate issues & set tone for COP28 in Dubai

With COP28 just 125 days away, this G20 ministerial meeting’s outcome gains immense significance.
Union minister Bhupendra Yadav with Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber at the G20 event in Chennai on Thursday. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath)
Union minister Bhupendra Yadav with Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber at the G20 event in Chennai on Thursday. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath)

CHENNAI: All eyes are on G20 environmental and climate sustainability ministerial meeting scheduled in Chennai on Friday. A communique is expected to be released on Friday (July 28), but the burning question is whether a consensus will be reached on contentious issues like cutting fossil fuel usage, climate finance and global stocktake.      

All G20 environment and climate ministers are attending the meeting including the United States special envoy for climate, John Kerry. While the failed talks at G20 energy track in Goa is some indication, the news from the two-day Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group is that there is some resistance from a number of countries regarding cutting back on fossil fuel usage.

An official, who is attending the meeting, said Wednesday's negotiations went on till 2.45 am and resumed again on Thursday morning. 

With COP28 just 125 days away, this G20 ministerial meeting's outcome gains immense significance. COP28 President-Designate Dr Sultan Al Jaber and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Simon Stiell had issued a joint statement in Chennai saying, "The G20 must affirm its commitment to achieving the operationalisation of funds and funding arrangements for loss and damage. Those at the frontline of climate change need our support now, not in 5 years.” 

"Commitments made must be delivered upon, including the $100 billion, adaptation finance doubling and the forthcoming GCF (Green Climate Fund) replenishment. G20 countries must also demonstrate leadership in actively aligning financial flows to the Paris Agreement through multilateral development banks and other avenues," the joint statement said. 

The two leaders said: "We must leave Chennai on the right path and with a clear signal that the political will to tackle the climate crisis is there. The world needs its leaders to unite, act and deliver, and that must start with G20," the statement reads.    

As the IPCC has set out, some of the impacts of climate change go beyond viable adaptation. The high temperatures in July brought record-breaking extremes across the world. The record heat comes with global average temperatures having risen 1.2°C since 1850.

According to the UN, current government policies will see average temperatures rise 2.8°C above pre-industrial levels, underlining the need for tougher targets and plans from major polluters at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, UAE later this year. 

To keep levels to the 1.5°C warming limit, the IPCC says global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak before 2025 at the latest and be reduced 43% by 2030. Limiting global warming to safe levels and accelerating the transition to cleaner, zero carbon fuels is on the agenda for G20 climate and energy talks, but current proposals from major emitters are well off pace, say analysts at Climate Action Tracker.

Under a new set of plans for COP28 in Abu Dhabi, the summit’s President Sultan Al-Jaber - CEO of oil giant Adnoc - admitted the phase-down of all fossil fuels is “inevitable” and called for “an energy system free of unabated fossil fuels” by 2050 together with a target to triple renewable energy by 2030.

'We have to take far less from nature'

Virginijus Sinkevicius, Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, European Union, said, “If we want to solve the triple crisis of climate, biodiversity and pollution, we have to take far less from nature. We have to use what we take far more effectively, use it longer and change our approach to waste.” He was speaking at the launch of Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Industry Coalition (RECEIC) on the sidelines of the G20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group meeting.

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express