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Fears that G20 climate talks will end in a stalemate

The leaders of its countries G20 meet this weekend during what is likely to be the hottest year in human history, but hopes the polarized gathering can agree on ambitious action to fighting the crisis they are scarce. The geopolitical tensions that drove the Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping not to participate in the talks suggest that the group is almost unlikely to even reach the usual final communiqué, much less firm climate commitments.

This creates a “potentially catastrophic” failure on the part of those countries responsible for 80% of global energy sector emissions, Amnesty International warned yesterday. And this lowers expectations ahead of the crucial talks on the climate of COP28 starting in November.

Three key climate issues will be on the negotiating table in New Delhi: a push to triple global production capacity renewable energy sources by 2030, the weaning of economies from fossil fuels – mainly coal – and the financing of green transition in developing countries.

The path to organization suggests a difficult path forward for all three of these issues. In July, G20 energy ministers failed to even mention coal in their final communiqué, let alone agree on a roadmap for a phase-down while no progress was made on the renewables target. “The communiques that have been issued are woefully inadequate,” the head of UN on climate Simon Steele. The backdrop to the talks could not be worse: the European Copernicus observatory this week announced that this year is likely to be the warmest in human history with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stressing that “climate collapse has begun”.

“The climate is collapsing us faster than we could cope with, with extreme weather events affecting all corners of the planet,” he warned.

This is evidenced by a series of phenomena with catastrophic floods, extreme heat and forest fires in almost the entire planet in recent months.

The G20 countries account for 85% of global GDP and a corresponding percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it essential for progress to achieve the Forum’s goals. However, the per capita carbon emissions have risen since 2015 in G20 countries, a survey revealed this week, despite transition efforts by some member countries.

The 9% increase was largely driven by increases in countries including host country India, Indonesia and China. Dependence on coal along with geopolitical rifts over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and conflicts with Beijing will make an agreement on reduction difficult. Another point of friction is likely to be the financing of the green transition. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has sought to position himself as the voice of the “Global South”, insisted ahead of the summit that climate ambitions “must be coupled with action on climate finance and technology transfer”.

Rich states have already failed to fulfill their commitment to provide 100 billion dollars annually in climate finance to poorer countries by 2020. Amnesty International urged the developed world to “deliver and significantly increase” this funding, warning of the “potentially catastrophic” consequences of inaction at the G20. And African nations this week called for $600 billion in renewable energy investment paid for in part by a global carbon tax. They also want relief and debt restructuring, as well as the rapid implementation of a “loss and damage” fund for climate-vulnerable countries.

A bright spot in the talks could be a push for renewable energy, with draft documents reportedly containing a commitment to push for a global tripling of capacity by 2030.

Source: News Beast

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