India urged the developed nations to reduce their 'luxurious and energy-intensive lifestyles'
New Delhi: As global leaders at the G-20 summit pledged to phase out coal power “as soon possible” and take “meaningful and effective action” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, India urged the developed nations to reduce their “luxurious and energy-intensive lifestyles” so that the developing countries get the margin to meet their required targets for climate goals.
Speaking after the summit ended, India’s “sherpa” Piyush Goyal said the G-20 summit had delivered a strong message as energy and climate was clearly the centrestage of discussions. He said India and several other developing countries had pushed for safeguarding the interests of the developing world. “We were also joined by developed countries to increase the ambition from current levels of commitment,” said Mr Goyal at the end of the summit, where recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, in terms of economy, health, employment, education, tourism and climate action, was also discussed.
The G-20 leaders committed to the key goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, though the climate activists said the summit was a “missed opportunity” and had left a huge amount of work to be done at the COP26 UN climate summit that began in Glasgow on Sunday.
“We remain committed to the Paris Agreement goal to hold the global average temperature increase well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, also as a means to enable the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. We recognise that the impacts of climate change at 1.5°C are much lower than at 2°C. Keeping 1.5°C within reach will require meaningful and effective actions and commitment by all countries, taking into account different approaches, through the development of clear national pathways that align long-term ambition with short- and medium-term goals, and with international cooperation and support, including finance and technology, sustainable and responsible consumption and production as critical enablers, in the context of sustainable development. We look forward to a successful COP26,” the G-20 joint declaration said.
The leaders, whose nations between them emit nearly 80 per cent carbon emissions, also promised action on coal, but failed to set a clear target on another key goal, to reach “net zero” emissions. “We are proud of these results but we must remember that it’s only the start,” said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the host of the talks. Earlier, the COP26 climate talks opened in Scotland with a warning by summit president Alok Sharma that they were the “last, best hope” to keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The leaders of the world’s biggest economies have agreed to end public financing for coal-fired power generation abroad, but set no target for phasing out coal domestically as they wrapped up a two-day summit that laid the groundwork for the UN climate conference in Glasgow. The final G-20 communique said the leaders made a compromise commitment to reach carbon neutrality “by or around mid-century”.
The G-20 countries represent more than three-quarters of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Summit host Italy had been looking for solid targets on how to reduce emissions while helping poor countries deal with the impact of rising temperatures. Without those targets, momentum could be lost for the larger annual talks that officially opened Sunday in Glasgow, where countries worldwide will be represented, including poor ones vulnerable to rising seas, desertification and other effects. The communique said the G-20 reaffirmed past commitments by rich countries to mobilise $100 billion annually to help poorer countries cope with climate change, and committed to scaling up financing for helping them adapt.
On the health front, the leaders in their joint declaration said they would help advance toward the global goals of vaccinating at least 40 per cent of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70 per cent by mid-2022, as recommended by the World Health Organisation, and will take steps to help boost the supply of vaccines and essential medical products and inputs in developing countries and remove relevant supply and financing constraints.
The G-20 leaders’ declaration added: “We look forward to meeting again in Indonesia in 2022, in India in 2023 and in Brazil in 2024.”
Mr Goyal said the leaders adopted the Rome Declaration which gives a strong message under the health section where the countries have agreed that Covid-19 immunisation is a global public good. The leaders agreed to strengthen WHO to enable it to proceed with Covid vaccine approvals. “We got into text which confirms the developed world has acknowledged they have not done enough in terms of meeting their commitments and that they will have to move forward in providing finance, technology and enablers to make the transition to a clean energy world,” said Mr Goyal.
He added that agriculture, livelihoods of the small and marginal farmers were also the focus of discussion for India and the G-20 has identified sustainable and responsible consumption, and production along with provision of finance and technology, as critical enablers to achieving climate goals. India has made it clear it needs to be part of the groups like Nuclear Suppliers Group in order to get access to clean energy options.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mantra of sustainable lifestyles finds resonance in the Rome Declaration on sustainable consumption and responsible production patterns in line with SDG-12. A lot of the agenda of developing countries in which India has been taking a leadership role for has been brought into the text of the Rome Declaration. Clean energy and innovation will play an important role in the years to come. Energy security and stability of energy markets have also been recognised by the G-20 leaders. We have discussed and decided on global net zero. We have to work on technological solutions and more innovations before we decide on the year of achieving the target. For the first time, the agenda on sustainable urban planning has also been brought into the declaration. We need to bring back economic activity on tourism. We all have agreed to work towards a common framework for accepting each other’s vaccine certificates. We have agreed to extend the debt service suspension initiative so that low-income countries are not burdened with debt repayment at this critical time. We discussed gender-based violence and increasing women’s participation in the workforce. We also denounced the uneven distribution of unpaid care and domestic work,” Mr Goyal said, while briefing the media in Rome after the summit.
“We have also agreed to extend the debt service suspension initiative so that low-income countries are not burdened with debt repayment at this critical time,” said Mr Goyal.