A group of 20 leaders gathered on September 9-10 in the heart of New Delhi for the G-20 summit 2023 in what is expected to be the hottest year in human history. As the world meets, the agenda is set against the backdrop of an unparalleled global problem – climate change. This critical catastrophe has left a long shadow over our globe, with increasing temperatures, catastrophic weather events, and ecological upheavals becoming alarmingly commonplace on a daily basis. At the UN Framework Convention on Climatic Change (COP27) in 2022, UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned global leaders that mankind is on a “highway to climate hell with one foot on the accelerator.” The summit this year focused on critical climate challenges, and on September 9, a treaty known as the Green Development Pact for a Sustainable Future was inked which can be considered a milestone achievement for this platform. The pact advocates that current and future generations can only be affluent if current development, as well as other policy decisions and activities, resolve ecologically friendly practices and equitable economic growth. Three important climate concerns were discussed in New Delhi: a push to treble global renewable energy capacity by 2030; weaning economies off fossil fuels, notably coal; and financing for developing-country green transitions.
This sense of urgency to address increasing temperatures and climate change was evident during the G20 Leaders’ Summit, when the G20 nations pledged to accelerate their efforts to address environmental crises and problems, including climate change. When G20 was founded in 1999, the group’s goal was to provide a venue for debate and collaboration around global economic development and financial stability. Since then, its agenda has grown significantly, embracing problems like trade, climate change, and international migration. The world is in a tumultuous state due to the Ukraine war and the COVID-19 pandemic. These crises have wreaked havoc on global geopolitics, posing issues such as energy and food security, technological transfer, climate change, and energy transition. The Global South especially has borne the brunt of major power rivalries. the UN chief appealed for the bloc to support his initiatives to address climate change, sustainable development, the worldwide food and energy crises, and digital transformation.
Against such a backdrop, a significant platform that facilitates global south representations, G20 has the opportunity to fight for the plethora of issues that these nations face. On important problems such as energy transition and climate change, India can take a bold stand in favor of the interests of the Global South.
Climate Talk Dominates this Year
The G20 focused on the theme ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ in 2023, under the Indian Presidency. This bold pledge by India has caused a sea change in global objectives, notably in lending mechanisms to nations susceptible to the consequences of climate change. However, issues such as the current Russia-Ukraine crisis and the rising competition between the US and China lie on the horizon. The absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin puts a cloud over the summit’s success, potentially jeopardizing agreement on crucial topics such as energy transition, green financing, and sustainable development goals. Despite these obstacles, India is dedicated to ensuring the summit’s success, exemplifying its determination to lead on climate action. The drive for renewables might be a bright spot in the discussions, with draft agreements apparently including a vow to fight for a worldwide doubling of capacity by 2030. The text reaffirmed previously agreed-upon objectives and requested members to contribute an initial $100 billion to the effort; it also established a goal of attaining net zero emissions by 2050.
G20 has a unique chance to lead the world toward a more sustainable and secure future by prioritizing energy financing, pushing for the phase-down of fossil fuels, and tackling coal consumption. With India at the helm of the G20, Bangladesh’s participation in the summit opens up a plethora of possibilities. Bangladesh has been lauded for its activism on behalf of the global South, particularly its emphasis on climate change problems. Bangladesh, as a champion of developing nations, may utilize this platform to advocate for third-world countries The United Kingdom also vowed to contribute US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to assist poor nations in dealing with climate change, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said at the Group of 20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi. Of course, India’s political leadership hailed these advances as evidence of the country’s newfound stature as a worldwide leader. African nations also asked for $600 billion in renewable energy projects, to be funded in part by a global carbon price. They also demand debt relief and restructuring, as well as the establishment of a “loss and damage” fund for climate-vulnerable nations as soon as possible.
From Climate Adaptation to Climate Mitigation
The importance of this G20 conference extends beyond the immediate issues. It lays the groundwork for COP 28 at the end of the year when leaders will focus on consolidating commitments to phase out fossil fuels, treble renewable energy consumption, and mobilize historic levels of energy financing. This year the nations present at the summit focused on climate mitigation to adaption that emphasized the inclusion of creating resilience through technology transfer, global financing, clean, sustainable, affordable, and inclusive energy transitions to enable strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth and to achieve the climate objectives; to deliver on climate and sustainable finance based on the recommendations of the Sustainable Finance Working Group; to adhere to the multi-year G20 Technical Assistance Action Plan (TAAP) to overcome data-related barriers to climate investments; and to recognize the need for incentivization of climate investments. from billions to trillions of dollars globally; emphasize the need for developing countries to implement nationally determined contributions of $5.8 to $5.9 trillion in the pre-230 period, and the need for $4 trillion per year for clean energy technologies by 2030 to achieve net zero emissions by 2050; emphasize the importance of healthy ecosystems and address climate change, biodiversity loss.
Despite geopolitical challenges, India’s commitment to G20 unity and climate action provides a great model for international collaboration. The leaders have pledged to address climate change issues and environmental catastrophes, particularly those confronting poor populations in LDCs and small island developing nations. The pact was signed with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s goal in mind: to combat climate change by strengthening the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and its goal of limiting temperature increases to well below two degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, the treaty states that the entire globe has not yet made adequate efforts to accomplish the Paris Agreement’s goals. As a result, it is critical that all countries work together to achieve ambitious action on all pillars of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The G20 leaders have also pledged to implement The New Delhi Leader’s Declaration urged all countries that have not yet aligned their NDCs with the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal to revisit and strengthen their 2030 targets in their NDCs, as needed, by the end of 2023, taking into account different national circumstances. Contributors from developed countries anticipate that this objective will be attained for the first time in 2023. Because sustainable biofuels are important to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, the G20 Presidency created the Global Biofuels Alliance in New Delhi, with the US as a founding member with India, Brazil, Italy, Canada, Argentina, and South Africa.
G20 countries account for 85% of the world GDP and a similar proportion of global climate change. Emissions, making action in the forum crucial to real progress. Wealthy countries have already failed to meet a goal to pay poorer countries $100 billion (S$136.5 billion) in climate funding by 2020. This new Alliance is hoping to bring nations together in order to grow and establish new markets for sustainable biofuels. For that, climate financing, international cooperation, collaboration, and assistance, as well as sustainable consumer production, can make this feasible.
– Saume Saptaparna Nath is a Research Associate at the KRF Center for Bangladesh and Global Affairs (CBGA).