The Leaders’ Declaration records big climate wins with the agreement on tripling renewables targets by 2030 and putting a number to the need for climate finance for the first time in G20
The much-watched G20 Leaders’ Summit announced the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration on Saturday, focussing extensively on reforming global financial institutions and debt structuring to make funds available for developing nations struggling to meet climate challenges, setting the tone for discussions in the upcoming COP28 to be held in the UAE.
With extreme weather events hitting hard this year, climate change remained high on the geopolitical agenda. There were high expectations, and also differing views on the level of climate action which must be urgently taken across major emitting countries, which include historical emitters like US and Europe but also large economies like China and India. The big climate wins come with the agreement on tripling renewables targets by 2030 and putting a number to the need for climate finance for the first time in G20.
• Overall, strong support for the Paris Agreement, and its targets including the 1.5 degree C warming limit was expressed
• Moves the language on finance from billions to trillions. Makes an effort to shift the discourse from mitigation - only finance- to resilience and adaptation. For the first time in G20, recognises the quantum for climate finance - gives a figure of $5.8-5.9 tr needed by pre 2030 for NDC achievement, and USD 4TR annually for achieving Net Zero by 2050.
• Encourages tripling of RE capacity by 2030, and voluntary doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvement by 2030.The agreement to triple renewable energy globally will be a huge boost to the clean energy sector if it can be matched with technology and finance.
• Reiterating language from the last G20 on efforts to phase down coal just maintains the status quo. G20, home to 93 per cent of global operating coal power plants and 88 per cent of new proposed unabated coal power plants failed to agree to end new coal power plant construction.
• Recognise the importance of sustainable biofuels in zero and low- emission development strategies, and note the setting up of a Global Biofuels Alliance.
• No specific progress on phase down of coal but announced the establishing of a Green Hydrogen Innovation Centre steered by the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and also mentions derivatives like ammonia.
• Although it recognises the need to reduce emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 (relative to 2019 levels) and notes that global peaking must occur before 2025 (as prescribed by the IPCC’s AR6 Synthesis Report), it mentions that this doesn’t imply all countries must peak according to this timeline. This shows that while there is acknowledgement of climate science and policy inputs, principles of CBDR- RC remain alive when it comes to climate action.
• Strong support expressed for MDB reforms, including Sustainable Finance Working group recommendations for scaling up blended finance and risk-sharing facilities and the enhanced role of MDBs in mobilising climate finance, especially through concessional resources.
• Calls for an ambitious second replenishment process of the Green Climate Fund for its upcoming 2024-2027 programming period
• Commitment to work toward facilitating access to multilateral climate funds and enhancing their leverage and ability to mobilize private capital.
• A multi-year G20 Technical Assistance Action Plan (TAAP) to address data related barriers for climate investments
• Global Biofuels Alliance was launched.
Fadhel Kaboub, Associate Professor of Economics, Denison University, President, Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity:
“The Global South vision must align development and climate solutions in three core areas. 1. investments in food sovereignty (not just food security) and agroecology. 2. investments in renewable energy sovereignty. And 3. High-value added industrial policies to leverage the complementarity of resources (critical minerals), capabilities, and the economies of scale available to us in the Global South.”
Madhura Joshi, India Lead, E3G, Climate think-tank:
“We have seen a landmark decision to support tripling global renewable energy capacity, important for both development and climate goals; support for doubling the rate of energy efficiency, crucial for energy transitions; and for reforming multilateral banks, which can help unlock affordable finance for implementation. Reiterating language from the last G20 on efforts to phase down coal just maintains the status quo. Increasing renewables must be backed by phasing down fossil fuels – both are indispensable for just transitions and a net-zero world.”
Vibhuti Garg, Director, South Asia, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, (IEEFA):
“ While it also rightly says the need for tripling of renewable energy and access to low cost finance as the need for finance are estimated to the tune of $4 trillion annually, the agreement is on facilitating and not committing to it. While the progress is good, a time commitment on both the renewable energy target and allocation of finance to energy and developing countries would have strengthened the commitment from nations on the issue of climate crisis which all the countries have been subjected to.”
Aditya Lolla, Asia Programme Lead, Ember:
“A tripling of global renewable capacity by 2030 is the biggest single action that would keep 1.5 degrees within reach. It creates two important precedents. First, it dramatically increases the odds that a global goal to triple renewables can be agreed at COP28 in December. Second, and most importantly, it creates a necessity for countries to go back and reassess their own plans to make sure they are consistent with a tripling of global renewables. This is a game-changer for climate action. It is more possible by the day to imagine a clean, global energy system."
Shruti Sharma, Senior Policy Advisor, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD):
“The G20 Leaders’ Declaration has acknowledged the significance of addressing fossil fuel subsidies, but there has been no progress in the text since the Bali declaration. For the past 15 years, G20 leaders have consistently reiterated their commitment to reforming fossil fuel subsidies, but failed to deliver tangible progress in terms of transparency, timelines, and subsidies reduction. The absence of a well-defined deadline for phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies—such as 2025 for developed countries and 2030 for emerging economies—reduces the accountability of the G20 in delivering its 2009 commitment to phase out this support.”
Purva Jain, Energy Analyst, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, (IEEFA):
"The formal launch of the Global Biofuels Alliance at the G20 Summit in Delhi reflects India’s commitment to clean fuels. The Indian Presidency prioritised ‘fuels of the future’ and has delivered on it. Many countries and international organisations have already expressed interest to join it and this is a testament to the importance of biofuels for meeting Net Zero targets."
Devinder Sharma, Trade and Food Policy Analyst:
"At a time when the UN has set a goal to achieve 'Zero Hunger' by 2030, to form a global biofuel alliance would be nothing short of a historic blunder. Political leadership must think of feeding humans first, automobiles can wait."