Leaders from the world’s largest economies gathered in India for the annual Group of 20 (G20) summit in early September. After months of difficult consultations, shrewd diplomatic maneuvering by the Indian G20 presidency prevailed, with leaders securing unanimous agreement on many contentious issues, including key climate-related outcomes. The deliberations are an important bellwether into G20 country priorities and areas of possible agreement ahead of the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai later this year.
On climate, the final New Delhi Declaration crucially saw leaders recognize the immense financial needs of developing countries as they respond to the climate crisis, acknowledging the costs of implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions at U.S. $5.9 trillion annually before 2030, in addition to a further U.S. $4 trillion per year for clean energy technologies in order to reach net zero emissions by 2050. If fully realized, it would mean a mobilization of U.S. $34 trillion by the end of the decade. The text goes on to address the need to reform the multilateral development banks—including low-income country debt restructuring and low-cost financing instruments—and analyze fossil fuel subsidies.
G20 leaders also pledged to “pursue and encourage efforts” to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030—a goal that is broadly understood to mean the deployment of 11,000 gigawatts of renewable generation, according to analysis by the International Energy Agency. Leaders from the European Union, Barbados, Kenya, and the United Arab Emirates COP28 presidency, issued a joint statement to coincide with the summit and echoed the call for a tripling of renewables, marking the issue as a clear priority for COP28.
Fossil fuel phasedown, phase-out debate continues
Despite these initiatives, the G20 agreement has garnered criticism over its failure to agree to language on the phase-out of fossil fuels, instead holding fast to phrasing agreed in 2021, focusing only on the phasedown of unabated coal power. This sentiment complicates an assertion by UAE COP28 President-Designate Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber that the phasedown of fossil fuel use is “inevitable and essential.” While it remains to be seen whether negotiators at COP28 will be able to agree on the need to phase out fossil fuel use and other key issues, what is clear is that success in Dubai will need strong leadership from G20 countries.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) has identified a number of possible high-level signals for success at COP28; including:
- Tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030, including increasing the share of renewable energy sources in global electricity generation to at least two-thirds by 2030 with the aim of full decarbonization by 2050, while reducing the share of fossil sources matched with a commitment by Parties, multilateral development banks, and non-Party stakeholders—in particular international financial institutions—to at least triple the proportion of finance and investments in renewable energy by 2030
- Reducing methane emissions from the fossil fuel sector by 75 percent by 2030
- Ensuring, by 2027, universal coverage of early warning systems, connected to longer-term risk management systems, and supported by effective risk communication and public stakeholder dialogue to prompt informed action, and by 2030 universal coverage of climate services in priority climate-sensitive sectors (agriculture and food security, health, disaster risk reduction, energy, and water)
- By 2030: foster climate resilient, sustainable agriculture that increases yields by 17 percent and reduces farm level greenhouse gas emissions by 21 percent without expansion of the agricultural frontier. And halve, relative to 2019, the share of food production lost and per capita food waste, while shifting to healthier and plant-based diets
- Urging bilateral, multilateral, and private creditors to design and implement mechanisms for debt payments suspension, restructuring, and cancellation as soon as possible and by 2030 at the latest, with a view to addressing climate-related needs.
For more details and other signals for a successful COP28, see C2ES’s technical paper, A Solutions-Oriented Approach to the Global Stocktake.