G20 climate talks: Major economies accused of ‘backtracking’ on emissions as meeting ends in failure

Objections to language on climate targets and war in Ukraine prevented the issuance of a joint communiqué at the G20 ministerial meeting in Bali on Wednesday, diplomatic sources said.

Sharma, president of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) and head of the British delegation to Bali, told Reuters the response from the G20, which accounts for 80% of global emissions, is “incredibly worrisome.”

“Of course, we saw that a number of countries backtracked on the commitments they made in Paris and Glasgow,” he said in an interview, without singling out any country.

“If the G20 is not prepared to act on the commitments they made in Glasgow, I fear the prospect of keeping 1.5 degrees within reach will slip away very, very quickly.”

G20 climate ministers met on an Indonesian resort island for talks as extreme weather events – fires, floods and heat waves – hit several parts of the world, including an unprecedented flood in Pakistan that killed more than 1,100 people.

Science shows that such extreme weather events are linked to human-induced climate change, and their severity and frequency will only increase as the globe approaches a warming threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

In comments ahead of Egypt’s November COP27, Sharma said the stance some countries have taken in Bali is unacceptable.

“The big emitters absolutely need to look these climate-vulnerable countries in the eye and say they are doing absolutely everything they can to deliver on their commitments,” he said.

Indonesian Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar opened the meeting by urging countries to cut emissions and prevent the planet from reaching a point “where no future is sustainable.”

The City had previously said it hoped the joint communiqué would be signed by the end of the day on Wednesday, but did not mention it at its final press conference.

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