A G20 commitment to reduce the use of fossil fuels has hit a major stumbling block after several countries, led by Saudi Arabia, opposed the deal.
Disagreement over the emissions-reducing plan suggests that November’s UN COP28 Summit could be wracked with discord on how to cut worldwide usage of oil, gas and coal.
Russia, China, South Africa and Indonesia also opposed the plan, which was discussed at the G20 ministerial delegation meeting in Goa on July 21st during India’s period of Presidency. This followed last week’s somewhat divisive and poorly attended Meeting of Finance Ministers in Gujarat.
The G7 instigated proposal was for G20 countries to triple their renewable energy capacity by 2030.
On one side of the argument stands member states who are pushing for cuts in fossil fuel usage without capturing emissions. The opposing view, favoured by Saudi Arabia and other large-scale emitters, is to promote the development of technology to capture greenhouse gas emissions.
Amid unprecedented heatwaves and rising temperatures across the globe, Saturday’s meeting was also unable to find common ground on setting a global target for renewable energy development.
Alden Meyer, senior associate at consultancy E3G, was quoted as saying that sharp divisions were on display at the G20 around the need for a fair, fast and equitable transition away from fossil fuels.
“With temperature records being set daily around the world and the impacts of climate change spiralling out of control, the world needed to hear a clarion call to action,” he said. “Instead, what we got was very weak tea.”
India’s Minister of Power, RK Singh, admitted that the issue of fossil fuel production had been problematic during the talks – despite the majority of G20 members being in favour of their reduction.
Meanwhile, the annual global cost of energy transition has been estimated at $4tn, according to a report prepared for India’s G20 Presidency. The report also stressed the importance of finance being directed towards developing countries.