G20 group’s divergent views on climate change

New Delhi

The G-20 group has been struggling to reach a consensus on climate change issues, as concerns have grown since two G20 ministerial meetings in July on energy transition, environment, and climate failed to reach a consensus on key issues, including emissions targets, fossil fuel cuts, and climate finance.

The first meeting was of the G-20 Energy Transition Working Group (ETWG) in Goa, followed by the G-20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) meeting in Chennai last month. The summary report of the meeting contained issues in which no ‘consensus’ could be reached among the G-20 members.

Russia and China are still against the G-7 countries in paragraphs related to Ukraine, with China saying that no “geopolitical” issues should be included. This disagreement is also being seen between G7 countries and developing countries regarding emission targets and climate finance. Many countries, including Saudi Arabia and India, are opposing the proposal to completely stop the use of coal and reduce the production of fossil fuels.

G-20 negotiators discussed climate issues “all night and two days into the morning until five in the morning” before the climate meeting, emphasizing that the consensus should have a proposal ready. The meeting was attended by prominent officials of several countries, including US Special Envoy John Kerry.

Indian negotiators said they would put all the points of difference in the statement, so that on 9 and 10 September “the option of resolving the issues of disagreement during the summit of the leaders” would be available. The statement issued by the chair at the end of the ECSWG meeting states that there are divergent views among G-20 members on the mandate of the Environment and Climate Stability Working Group and different views on the issues of energy transition and the tone in which they should be written in this document.

Climate experts and activist groups are disappointed that the meeting appears to have “lightened” the issue of climate change, contrary to what was expected. This may also derail the talks at the United Nations COP28 Climate Change Conference to be held in Dubai in November.

On climate change is increasing the challenge for negotiators, as India does not want to host such a G20 meeting where “joint statements of the leaders” cannot be issued after the meeting.

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