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G20 ministers reach agreement on most, but not all, climate issues

July 28, 2023 
By The Associated Press


By Sibi Arasu

(AP) Bengaluru, India — The final meeting of climate and environment ministers from the world’s largest economies ended without an agreement or joint statement Friday despite pleas from leading figures for nations to show a united front on climate change as weather records shatter across the globe.

In a gathering in Chennai in India, ministers from the Group of 20 countries — who emit around 80 per cent of the world’s planet warming gases — failed to agree on four of 68 points of discussion.

A document published by the group shows countries did not agree on aiming to peak emissions by 2025, moving to clean energy and a tax on carbon as a way to reduce emissions.

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“We couldn’t get a consensus but we agreed on a lot,” said Canada’s climate minister Steven Guilbeault at a virtual press conference after the meeting.

The ministers’ decisions will now be passed on to country leaders ahead of a summit in New Delhi in September this year. It will be the group’s last chance to issue a joint statement on climate this year.

On Thursday, the president of the upcoming United Nations climate talks Sultan al-Jaber and the U.N. climate chief Simon Stiell attended the Chennai meeting to urge countries to issue an ambitious statement that will make sure the world is on track to keep global warming within the agreed temperature limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

The world has currently warmed around 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times and effects are already being felt all over the world, with hosts India especially vulnerable. Earlier this year, more than 100 people died during a heat wave in the center of the country and last week at least 27 people died in western India due to landslides triggered by heavy rains.

Since India took over the G-20 presidency last December, none of the meetings that deal with various policy areas like foreign affairs, finance, energy and climate change have come out with a joint communique but their announcements may form part of a final document released at the leaders’ summit in September.

Earlier this month, a meeting of finance chiefs and central bank governors of the G-20 leading economies ended in Gandhinagar in the western state of Gujarat without a consensus because of differences between countries over the war in Ukraine.

Similarly, a meeting of energy ministers in Goa last week ended unsuccessfully with the final summary failing to mention a phase down of fossil fuels and ministers did not agree to raise ambition to treble renewable energy targets.

The meeting in Chennai was the last of four meetings of G-20 climate ministers. They had earlier met in Bengaluru, Gandhinagar in Gujarat and Mumbai.


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