G20 reiterates commitment to delivering 1.5C limit, hints at strengthening national climate targets

The G20 nations have issued a new declaration to play their part in delivering the 1.5C limit of the Paris Agreement, with the final communique hinting that they will, if necessary, revisit and strengthen current climate targets.

G20 reiterates commitment to delivering 1.5C limit, hints at strengthening national climate targets

World leaders met in Bali this week

The G20 leaders’ declaration was issued on Wednesday morning (16 November) to mark the culmination of the summit in Bali.

With COP27 still taking place in Egypt, the climate crisis was a focal point of G20 discussions and the final communique, alongside the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The final communique reiterates that nations’ commitments to delivering the Paris Agreements in full, reaffirms pledges to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by “closing the gaps” in energy access and eradicating energy poverty and to accelerate “efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power, in line with national circumstances”.

“We meet at a time of climate and energy crises, compounded by geopolitical challenges, we’re experiencing volatility in energy prices and markets and disruptions to energy supply,” the communique states. “We underline the urgency to rapidly transform and diversify energy systems, advance energy security and resilience and markets stability, by accelerating and ensuring clean, sustainable, just, affordable and inclusive energy transitions and flow of sustainable investments.

“We reiterate our commitment to achieve global net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by or around mind-Century while taking into account the latest scientific developments and different national circumstances.”

The communique does reference one of the main agreements of COP26’s Glasgow Climate Pact. The Pact calls on nations to revisit Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) submitted to the UN, which act as a climate targets for individual countries.

Prior to COP27, only 24 nations had submitted updated NDCs, and only Australia’s was noteworthy as being much stronger in ambition. Many nations that have resubmitted climate plans, including Egypt and UK, haven’t substantially increased ambition, research suggests.

However, the communique states a commitment to “fully implementing the Glasgow Climate Pact” with a specific reference to raising NDCs as necessary.

“Mindful of our leadership role, we reaffirm our steadfast commitments, in pursuit of the objective of the UNFCCC to tackle climate change by strengthening the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement” G20 leaders stated. “We will play our part in fully implementing the Glasgow Climate Pact and Pact and the relevant outcomes of previous COPs…including the call to revisit and strengthen he 2030 targets in our NDCs as necessary to align with the Paris Agreement.”

Biodiversity mention

The communique also welcomed developments for a global treaty on biodiversity, set to be finalised at COP15 in December following a series of postponements. The G20 nations reiterate a willingness to invest in nature-based solutions and to promote conservation and restoration.

The UN has confirmed that the final part of the COP15 on biodiversity will now take place in Montreal this December. In its current form, the post-2020 framework includes a headline ambition of halting nature loss by 2030 ad delivering a net-positive impact on nature thereafter. There have been calls for a more ambitious agreement which would not, technically, allow nature loss to accelerate in the coming years.

The framework also asks nations to work to conserve at least 30% of land and sea this decade. Some delegates have asked for more information on the scientific basis for this target and for more information on overcoming key challenges, like upholding the rights of Indigenous communities and ensuring that protected areas are conserving and/or restoring nature in reality.

Another key part of the framework is the need for wealthier nations to provide more international and domestic finance to conserve and restore nature. The Chinese Government has already pledged $230bn to create a ‘Kunming Fund’, which will be used to support projects overseas in developing nations as well as domestic initiatives.

The communique also references the important subject of loss and damage. The communique states that nations should “urgently scale up mitigation and adaptation ambition” but the reference to loss and damage merely states a need to “make progress on it”.

Commenting on the announcement, Ursula Woodburn, Head of EU Relations, European Corporate Leaders Group (CLG Europe) said: “Today the G20 signalled global leaders’ political will to support climate action. Holding the line on 1.5 degrees, the phase down of unabated coal power, and the phase out of fossil subsidies, alongside the need for progress on loss and damage at COP27 will invigorate the COP process in Sharm El-Sheikh. Now it is time for G20 to walk the talk at COP27 and Ministers to double down and achieve outcomes on the mitigation work programme and loss and damage finance, as well as support an ambitious cover text.

“Thousands of businesses from G20 countries have already set 1.5-aligned science-based targets. Through showing their clear commitment to the Paris Agreement’s objective both at COP27 and domestically, the G20 can drive more businesses to embark on the transition to net zero. The global consensus is clear – that even as countries tackle high geopolitical tensions and the reality of overlapping crises, the focus on holding the line on 1.5 and progressing climate action is critical.”

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