G20 leaders met in Bali on 15-16 November 2022, with the aim of recovering stronger at a time of unparalleled multidimensional crises, including climate change. The implications of the parallel G20 meeting for COP27 are huge. The climate-related texts of the Leaders’ Declaration are more robust than the texts of last year at the G20 Rome Summit and COP26 in Glasgow.
Although the core climate provisions of the Leaders’ Declaration were finalised two weeks ago, a few changes were made in the last few days on energy (alignment with Rome/Glasgow language on fossil fuel subsidies) and on biodiversity (stronger expectations for the Global Biodiversity Framework to be adopted at Montreal Biodiversity Conference, COP15 in December).
Some highlights in the text:
- §6 emphasises the necessity of working together to sustainably produce and distribute food, ensure that food systems better contribute to adaptation and mitigation to climate change and halt and reverse biodiversity loss;
- §11 includes a new net-zero phrase: “we reiterate our commitment to achieve global net zero greenhouse gas emissions/carbon neutrality by or around mid-century while taking into account the latest scientific developments and different national circumstances”. The new wording suggests that emissions and carbon neutrality mean exactly the same. It is important because China’s Nationally Determined Contribution and long-term low-emission development strategy did not provide the much-awaited confirmation that China’s carbon neutrality 2060 pledge applied to all greenhouse gases. Although China’s climate envoy declared in a side event in Sharm el-Sheikh that it does;
- §12 upholds the formerly reached consensus regarding unabated coal power generation and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies: “accelerating efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power, in line with national circumstances and recognising the need for support towards just transitions. We will increase our efforts to implement the commitment to phase-out and rationalise, over the medium term, inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.” At COP27 there is still a huge debate on extending the phasedown of unabated coal power to all fossil fuels (request of India) in the Cover Decision, with the intention of not singling out one form of fossil fuel, thereby weakening the international pressure on phasedown of coal;
- §13 is the classical reiteration of the core messages of international climate negotiations by reaffirming our steadfast commitments, in pursuit of the objective of UNFCCC, to tackle climate change by strengthening the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and its temperature goal, reflecting equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in light of different national circumstances;
- §15 urges stepping up efforts to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, including through nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches, with separate reference to ocean-based climate action, thereby supporting climate mitigation and adaptation;
- §16 is recalling earlier commitments on climate finance to deliver on the goal of jointly mobilising 100 billion US dollars per year and on the new element of an ambitious new collective quantified goal (NCQG) of climate finance from a floor of 100 billion US dollars per year to support developing countries without explicitly saying that all the NCQG money must come from developed countries;
- §33 addresses the role of Multilateral Development Banks and the International Monetary Fund’s Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST). Just to provide some background on this: last week Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the IMF, announced that the target countries of the IMF’s financial instruments were the vulnerable low- and middle-income countries and she highlighted 4 countries: Costa Rica, Rwanda, Barbados and Bangladesh could already successfully access RST;
- §37 has a positive message on international trade to address supply chain issues and avoid trade disruptions: “we believe that trade and climate/environmental policies should be mutually supportive and WTO consistent and contribute to the objectives of sustainable development”. This is an important message for the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to be introduced within a few years. CBAM will impose an equivalent carbon price on the imports of covered goods (electricity, iron and steel, cement, aluminium and fertilizers), thereby assuring that the playing field is levelled for both EU producers and EU importers of such goods as partner countries are encouraged to decarbonise their production processes;
- §45 links research and innovation to the climate crisis: “we acknowledge the importance of research and innovation in sustainable resource utilisation in various sectors, especially in the midst of health, climate, food and energy crises.”
All in all, it is excellent news that all international fora focus more and more on the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and its temperature goal of 1.5°C, which sends an encouraging message to our precious planet with its 8 billion inhabitants.
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