G20 leaders met in New Delhi, India, on 9-10 September, 2023. This summit presented an opportunity to set an ambitious tone ahead of COP28 (which we have discussed previously here and here). The G20 group of 19 countries and the EU was established in 1999 as a platform for finance ministers and Central Bank governors to discuss international economic and financial issues. Together, the G20 countries account for almost two-thirds of the global population, 75% of global trade, 85% of the world's GDP and 80% of global emissions. The focus of the summit was on green development, climate finance, inclusive growth, digital economy, public infrastructure, technology transformation, and reforms for women empowerment for socio-economic progress. Prime Minister Narendra Modi adopted the theme of 'One Earth, One Family, One Future.'
At a press conference ahead of the G20 summit U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that "[t]he climate crisis is spiralling out of control. But G20 countries are in control." Despite deep divisions over the war in Ukraine, and while avoiding direct criticism of Russia for the war, the leaders welcomed a consensus document, The New Delhi Declaration, which contains twelve commitments such as overhauling institutions, including the World Bank. One integral achievement was that of making the 55-member African Union a permanent member of the G20. Until now, only South Africa was a member, so the entry of the AU will provide greater voice to the Global South within the G20, where the G7 countries have long played a dominant role.
Key Aspects of The New Delhi Declaration
The G20 nations agreed to pursue and encourage efforts to triple renewable energy capacity globally through existing targets and policies, as well as to demonstrate similar ambition with respect to other zero and low-emission technologies, including abatement and removal technologies, in line with national circumstances by 2030. The G20 nations also reiterated their commitment to achieve global net zero GHG emissions / carbon neutrality by or around mid-century, while taking into account the latest scientific developments and in line with different national circumstances, taking into account their different approaches. However, the leaders' declaration failed to include any reference to the phase out of oil and gas.
The leaders also affirmed the ‘G20 High Level Voluntary Principles on Hydrogen’ to build a sustainable and equitable global hydrogen ecosystem that benefits all nations. And, as sustainable biofuels are critical to facilitating net zero by 2050, the G20 Presidency in New Delhi launched the Global Biofuels Alliance, with the United States as a founding member along with India, Brazil, Italy, Canada, Argentina, and South Africa. This new Alliance will bring countries together to expand and create new markets for sustainable biofuels.
Climate Change Financing
Recognizing the need for increased global investments to meet the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, and to scale up substantially and rapidly investment and climate finance from billions to trillions of dollars globally from all sources, the G20 noted the need for $5.8 - $5.9 trillion in the pre-2030 period for developing countries in order for them to be able to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). In addition, developing countries will also require $4 trillion per year for clean energy technologies by 2030 to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The G20 members recalled and reaffirmed the commitment made in 2010 by the developed countries to the goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020, and annually through 2025, to address the needs of the developing countries, in the context of meaningful mitigation action and transparency in implementation. Developed country contributors expect this goal to be met for the first time in 2023.
The Loss and Damage Fund
There was also a promise to implement the decision taken at COP27 on funding arrangements for responding to loss and damage to assist developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, including establishing a fund. Leaders called for an ambitious, transparent and trackable New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) of climate finance in 2024, from a floor of $100 billion a year, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing countries in fulfilling the objective of the UNFCCC and implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The UN welcomed the adoption on 9 September of the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration, describing it "as an example of effective leadership at a time of great divisions in the world." However, the UN Global Stocktake Synthesis Report, published on 8 September, shows that countries are falling well short of meeting global climate goals. A key architect of the Paris agreement, Laurence Tubiana, said the global stocktake was “a moment of truth.” “If everybody is serious we will come with stronger outcomes at COP. If we are not, it will be a moment where society has to turn to governments and clearly state — ‘you are all failing us’”.
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