G-20 bloc fails to reach agreement on fossil fuel cuts by Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers work next to electricity pylons in Mumbai, India, October 13, 2021. (Reuters) / Francis Mascarenhas / File Photo

Written by Sudarshan Varadhan and Nidhi Verma

BAMBOLIM, India (Reuters) – A meeting of the Group of 20 major economies in India on Saturday failed to reach consensus on phasing out fossil fuels after objections from some producing countries.

Scientists and activists are angry that international bodies have been slow to take action to curb global warming even as extreme weather from China to the United States underscores the climate crisis the world faces.

G20 member states collectively account for more than three-quarters of global emissions and gross domestic product, and the group’s cumulative decarbonization efforts are critical in the global fight against climate change.

However, disagreements including tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030 led officials to issue a results statement and a chair’s summary rather than a joint statement at the end of their four-day meeting in Bambolim, in the Indian coastal state of Goa.

A joint statement is issued when there is complete agreement among the member states on all issues.

“We have come to complete agreement on 22 out of the 29 paragraphs, and seven paragraphs make up the President’s Summary,” said India’s Energy Minister RK Singh.

Sections urging developed countries to achieve the goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion annually for climate action in developing economies from 2020 to 2025, and describing the war in Ukraine, also eluded consensus.

Fossil fuel use became a concern in the day-long discussions, two people familiar with the matter said, but officials failed to reach consensus on curbing use “relentlessly” and argued over language to describe the path to cutting emissions.

“The importance of making efforts towards relentlessly reducing the use of fossil fuels, in line with different national circumstances, was emphasized,” said a draft seen by Reuters late on Friday.

However, the chair’s statement released Saturday night included concerns from some member states that were missing from Friday’s draft, noting that “others have differing views on the matter that mitigation and removal techniques will address such concerns.”

Singh, at a press briefing after the conference, said some countries want to use carbon capture instead of phasing out fossil fuels. He did not mention the names of the countries.

Major fossil fuel producers in Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, South Africa and Indonesia are known to oppose the goal of tripling renewable energy capacity this decade.

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