Collapse of G20 talks in Bali raises fears of ‘backsliding’ on climate commitments

Climate and energy ministers clashed over Ukraine, climate finance, methane, shipping, carbon levies and whether 1.5°C or 2° This should be the global warming limit

Energy and climate ministers from some of the world’s largest economies failed to agree on common texts at G20 meetings in Bali, Indonesia. Two months before the Cop27 summit, the Egyptian host warned of a “backtracking” on climate commitments.

Draft texts seen by Climate Home News show G20 ministers clashing over language regarding Russia’s war on Ukraine, climate finance and whether limiting global warming to 1.5 °C or 2°C should be the global climate goal.

After the talks broke down, COP26 President Alok Sharma and new COP27 President Sameh Shoukry both warned against countries backtracking on their climate commitments.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry said: “G20 members should play a leading role in ensuring that the challenges created by the current global situation are not used as a pretext or justification for the continued delay in achieving climate commitments or rolling back hard-won commitments. gains in the global fight against climate change.

“It is concerning to see coal returning as a source of energy in some parts of the world,” he said, adding that the gaps in climate finance were concerning: “It is also concerning that the commitments in terms of climate finance, particularly the $100 billion target, are still lagging in implementation as the needs of developing countries continue to grow.

Sharma, the British lawmaker who chaired last year’s climate talks, said: “Certainly what we’ve seen is that a number of countries have backed down from the commitments they’ve made. they took to Paris. [in 2015] and in Glasgow [last year]”. Neither Sharma nor Shoukry singled out countries.

A minister present describing the meeting at Climate Home said: “Nothing happened in Bali. Failure. A weak presidency.

african nations interested in debt-for-climate swaps while the IMF is interested in it

Climate and environment ministers held a one-day meeting on Wednesday and energy ministers met on Thursday.

Neither group could agree on a joint statement. Instead, a “Bali Pact” should be published.

Climate Home spoke to four sources in Bali and saw documents suggesting the two sets of ministers faced similar divisions.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine

Indonesian Climate Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar opened the climate ministerial meeting with a call to “build bridges not walls”. Italy’s climate envoy Alessandro Modiano called for the ministerial statement to include language that “reflects Russia’s unjustifiable and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine”.

A draft text stated that “some members noted that existing challenges to address climate change and biodiversity loss have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.” But it was never going to work with Russia and the text was not agreed.

A similar discussion between energy ministers went unresolved. Proposed language blaming the war in Ukraine for soaring energy prices and a global economic slowdown was backed by G7 nations but opposed by emerging nations, including Russia, a source said.

Climate finance

The draft texts show there was disagreement over how strongly to criticize the failure of rich countries to deliver on their promise to provide $100 billion in climate finance to developing countries by 2020.

There was further disagreement on the importance to be given to ‘loss and damage’, referring to damage caused by climate impacts that cannot be recovered or adapted.

Developing countries called for tailored loss and damage financing, paid for by the nations most responsible for climate change. But this has so far been resisted by rich countries.

G20 meeting in Bali highlights Indonesia’s weak climate action


A long-running dispute over whether to limit global warming to “well below 2C” or 1.5C above pre-industrial levels has continued. Under the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to limit global temperature rise to “well below 2°C” and to “pursue efforts” to limit it to 1.5°C.

A second source at the talks told Climate Home that China and India have been pushing to emphasize 2C, with Chinese officials describing it as more “scientifically feasible”.

At COP26, all countries agreed to “review and strengthen” their 2030 climate targets by the end of 2022. Since then, few countries have done so.

A proposal to repeat the pledge, adding a September 23 deadline for inclusion in a UN summary report, failed to find consensus.

Meanwhile, India has pushed for language on a “global net zero” goal. He was opposed by Germany and the EU who argued he had diverted attention from action in the 2020s, the source said.

Comment: Floods in Pakistan must be a wake-up call for climate action


A third source in Bali told Climate Home that Indonesia, which has lost almost 20% of its tree cover since 2000, has campaigned against strong language on deforestation and land degradation.

There was no agreement on language aimed at reducing methane emissions despite more than 100 countries signing a ‘global methane commitment’ at COP26 to reduce collective methane emissions by 30% by 2030. China, India and Russia did not commit.

The text further proposed language on cleaning up the shipping industry, which remained in brackets, meaning there was no agreement.

The draft text included a proposal to “eliminate all unilateral and cross-border measures and obstacles that are not conducive to addressing the challenges of climate change” – a reference to the carbon tax adopted by the EU on goods imported from countries with lower environmental standards.

China, India, Brazil and South Africa have previously called the EU’s planned border carbon tax “one-sided” and “discriminatory”.

In response, the EU proposed an alternative text, promoting “dialogue in the design and implementation of domestic policy measures, in accordance with international rules”.

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