G20 Information Centre
Charting a Climate-Resilient Future:
The New Delhi Summit's Commitments and Global Unity
Zainab Bie, G20 Research Group
October 24, 2023
In 2023, under the leadership of India, the G20 embarked on a momentous journey centred on the theme of "One Earth, One Family, One Future." The 18th summit of the leaders of the G20 took place in September 2023, with New Delhi, India, as its host.
The G20, often regarded as the world's premier forum for international economic cooperation, holds a pivotal role in shaping and fortifying the global landscape of governance and economic collaboration. With its broad reach, the G20 addresses an array of critical international economic issues that affect countries around the globe.
One issue of paramount importance on the G20's docket, especially in 2023, was climate change. Collectively, the G20 members bear the weight of responsibility for roughly 80 percent of global emissions. The consensus within the G20 is clear – climate change necessitates global action. The members acknowledge the stark reality that global efforts and implementation to combat climate change have been inadequate to meet the Paris Agreement's temperature objectives. The Paris Agreement's aspiration is to curb the rise in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, with an even more ambitious target of limiting it to 1.5°C. Achieving the 1.5°C goal demands swift, profound and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, aiming for a 43 percent reduction by 2030 relative to 2019 levels. In 2023, the G20 pledged to enhance the comprehensive and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, particularly those temperature objectives. This commitment aligns with the principles of equity, the concept of common but differentiated responsibilities, and respective capabilities, all while taking into account the unique circumstances of individual countries.
As we delve deeper into the outcomes of the 2023 summit and the G20 New Delhi Leaders' Declaration, it becomes evident that this forum is not merely a platform for dialogue but a crucible for shaping our shared global future. Moreover, it offers a stage where the voices of the Global South find resonance, facilitating meaningful contributions to the world's development. In this unfolding narrative, G20 members have a pivotal role to play, not just in their economic capacities but as stewards of the planet we all call home.
The 2023 G20 summit delivered a series of key commitments, underscoring the urgency and gravity of addressing climate change. These commitments collectively represent a significant step towards a sustainable and climate-resilient future. Here are some of the pivotal commitments highlighted by the G20 in its communiqué.
Achieving Global Net Zero Emissions by Mid-Century
The G20 leaders' ambitious pledge to attain global net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or achieve carbon neutrality by approximately mid-century recognizes the latest scientific advancements and considers diverse national circumstances. It advocates for a multifaceted approach, encompassing the circular carbon economy, socioeconomic factors, technological advancements and market development, all with the aim of promoting the most efficient solutions. While this is a comprehensive and ambitious goal, it is important to note that the declaration made no explicit mention of phasing out fossil fuels, which remains a significant challenge in addressing climate change. The G20 leaders did, however, express their commitment to contribute to the success of the first global stocktake at the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai later in 2023.
Strengthening Economy-Wide Targets in Nationally Determined Contributions
The G20 leaders have applauded those countries that have incorporated economy-wide targets covering all GHGs in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Furthermore, they urge other countries to follow suit by including such economy-wide targets in their upcoming NDC cycles. This commitment aligns with Article 4.4 of the Paris Agreement and underscores the importance of revisiting and strengthening 2030 targets in NDCs, taking into account varying national circumstances.
Protecting and Conserving Forests and Mitigating Wildfires
The G20 leaders have pledged to scale up efforts in protecting, conserving and sustainably managing forests while combatting deforestation. This commitment aligns with internationally agreed timelines and emphasizes the crucial role of these actions in promoting sustainable development. It also acknowledges the socioeconomic challenges faced by local communities and Indigenous peoples. The G20 leaders have committed to both the prevention and mitigation of wildfires and the remediation of mining-degraded lands.
Triple Renewable Energy Capacity Globally by 2030
Beyond these commitments, the New Delhi Summit also set ground-breaking and ambitious goals. Notably, the leaders intend to triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030, while also demonstrating similar ambition in embracing other zero and low-emission technologies, including abatement and removal technologies. Achieving this goal could potentially prevent a staggering 7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. Doing so is essential to keeping alive the aspiration of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, as highlighted by assessments from the International Energy Agency.
The commitment to set a new collective quantified goal of climate finance in 2024, starting from a floor of $100 billion annually, is a step forward in addressing the financing needs of climate action. This is a positive step considering that the $100 billion commitment has never been met. Additionally, Britain's commitment to provide $2 billion to the Green Climate Fund shows a significant contribution to helping developing countries cope with climate change. However, the challenge lies in ensuring that this financial support is sufficient and reaches the countries and projects that need it most.
Another commitment of great significance is the pledge to facilitate low-cost financing for developing countries in their transition to a low-carbon and low-emission future. However, while this commitment highlights the intention to support developing countries, it lacks concrete decisions on how to achieve this goal effectively.
In terms of feasibility, achieving these commitments will depend on the political will and cooperation of the G20 members. Challenges may arise in coordinating efforts and resources, particularly when considering different national circumstances and priorities. Additionally, tracking progress and holding nations accountable for their commitments will be crucial.
During the summit, several innovative approaches and strategies were reaffirmed to address critical climate issues:
Role of Public and Private Finance: The G20 recognizes the significant role of public finance in enabling climate actions. This also includes leveraging private finance through blended financial instruments, mechanisms, and risk-sharing facilities. This approach aims to address both adaptation and mitigation efforts in a balanced manner.
Green Climate Fund Replenishment: The G20 called for an ambitious second replenishment process of the Green Climate Fund for its upcoming 2024-2027 programming period. This reaffirms the commitment to providing financial support to developing countries.
Scaling Up Investment: The declaration acknowledges the need for increased global investments to meet climate goals. The goal is to scale up investment and climate finance from billions to trillions of dollars globally. This reflects the magnitude of resources required to address climate change effectively.
Adaptation Finance: The declaration urged developed countries to double their collective provision of adaptation finance from 2019 levels by 2025. This demonstrates a commitment to address the growing need for adaptation measures in the face of climate change.
Role of Multilateral Development Banks: The declaration called on financial institutions, including multilateral development banks, to strengthen their efforts by setting ambitious adaptation finance targets and revising projections to enhance support by 2025.
These approaches and commitments demonstrate a comprehensive and evolving strategy to address climate change. They emphasize the importance of financial resources, innovative financing mechanisms and global collaboration in achieving climate goals. However, effective implementation and coordination will be key challenges in realizing these strategies.
Furthermore, the addition of the Africa Union as a permanent member of the Africa is a landmark development. Africa move recognizes the importance of Africa's role in the global economy and amplifies the voices of the Global South on the world stage. It is a positive step towards better representation and more inclusive decision making in global affairs.
The commitment to support Africa through initiatives such as the G20 Compact with Africa and the G20 initiative on supporting industrialization is commendable. It acknowledges the challenges faced by African countries and underscores the importance of collaboration between the G20 and regional partners.
The commitments made during the New Delhi Summit on climate change are poised to leave a lasting impact on various facets of the global landscape. As the world grapples with the urgent need to combat climate change, these commitments are likely to shape long-term trajectories in multiple ways:
Implications for Businesses and Industries
The G20's climate commitments have profound implications for businesses and industries worldwide. The commitment to achieve global net zero emissions by mid-century sets a clear direction for the global economy. Businesses and industries will need to adapt their strategies and operations to align with this goal. This will likely accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources, the development of low-carbon technologies, and increased focus on sustainable practices across various sectors. Additionally, the call to triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030 and embrace zero and low-emission technologies will stimulate innovation and investment in clean energy and technology sectors. Companies that proactively embrace sustainability and low-carbon practices are likely to thrive in this new era, while those lagging behind may face regulatory and market pressures.
Implications for the Global Economy
The G20's climate commitments also have far-reaching implications for the global economy. Transitioning to a low-carbon and sustainable global economy will require substantial investments in clean technologies, infrastructure and sustainable practices. While this transition may entail short-term costs, it is expected to yield long-term economic benefits, including job creation, enhanced energy security, and reduced health and environmental costs associated with fossil fuels.
These commitments reflect a recognition of the urgency of addressing climate change and the need for concerted global efforts. Challenges and complexities lie ahead in implementation, but the G20's leadership in charting a course toward a sustainable and climate-resilient future is a significant step forward in the fight against climate change.
In the wake of the G20's New Delhi Summit and its ground-breaking climate commitments, a beacon of hope emerges on the horizon. These pledges, born from global cooperation and the shared vision of a sustainable future, underscore the immense power of collaboration in addressing climate change. As we reflect on the promises made in New Delhi, let us not forget that our collective actions today will shape the world of tomorrow. The time for action is now. Let's seize this moment, stand together and forge a future where our planet thrives, and the legacy we leave behind is one of stewardship, resilience and unity in the face of the greatest challenge of our time.
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