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G20 climate meet in Chennai to focus on mitigation, finance

ByJayashree Nandi, New Delhi
Jul 26, 2023 10:13 AM IST

The meeting is also expected to focus on land degradation, biodiversity and deforestation, blue economy and promoting circular economy

The G20 environment and climate ministerial on July 28 is expected to discuss important and contentious issues such as climate change mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation or climate finance, people aware of the matter said.

Richa Sharma (centre), additional secretary at the environment ministry, addresses the media ahead of the 4th G20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group meeting in Chennai on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)
Richa Sharma (centre), additional secretary at the environment ministry, addresses the media ahead of the 4th G20 Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group meeting in Chennai on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

The G20 communique, expected to be released on July 28 as a joint statement of the G20 environment and climate ministers and members, is likely to have at least 13 to 14 paragraphs on G20’s views on the climate crisis. The communique, or the chair’s summary (if a communique is not adopted) is also expected to cover the G20’s expectations from the Global Stocktake (GST) to be held at the UN Climate Meeting (COP28) in Dubai. GST is the process to review the implementation of the Paris Agreement and its goal of keeping global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to keep it under 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

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The meeting is also expected to focus on land degradation, biodiversity and deforestation, blue economy and promoting circular economy.

The environment and climate sustainability working group is working on developing nine ocean-based sustainability principles which are likely to be adopted by the G20 ministers on Friday. “The nine principles will be finalised over the next two days. These are very important to make the ocean-based economy compliant with concerns of climate change mitigation, adaption to climate change impacts, interventions needed in the ocean-based industries such as mining or aquaculture, etc. There are two technical documents prepared by the Indian Presidency on blue economy and land degradation, which will also be released,” a senior official in the environment ministry said.

On Tuesday, during a pre-event briefing on the G20 working group and ministerial meet to be held in Chennai, officials said keynote addresses for the ministerial meeting will be delivered by COP28 President Designate Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Simon Stiell and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) executive director Inger Andersen.

There will be a pavilion on India’s Project Tiger and Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE.) Climate and environment ministers will have a thematic site visit to Mahabalipuram, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The G20 will be represented by their ministers; from UK and Japan, two cabinet ministers will be attending the meeting, according to officials.

It’s a critical meeting, officials said, because member countries are responsible for 80% of global emissions and GDP. The grouping is also a unique mix of rich and emerging economies — from the US and the EU to India and China, who have varied priorities based on their economic status and historical contribution to emissions.

HT reported on July 23 that the G20 failed on Saturday to reach a consensus on critical climate issues such as trebling of renewable energy deployment and phasing down of fossil fuels, a chair’s summary indicated, although India’s minister for renewable added talks were still “one of the most successful” for the bloc, and that it laid down important groundwork ahead of the COP28 climate talks later this year.

G20 energy officials were due to issue a joint communique after their four-day meeting in Goa. Instead, a G20 Energy Transitions Ministers’ Outcome Document and Chair’s Summary was published on Saturday evening.

The language of the summary is not strong enough on most significant issues such as renewable energy, fossil fuels and finance, experts and people aware of the discussions said. Countries highly dependent on oil and gas also resisted any strong wording on phasing down fossil fuels, the people added.

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