G20 countries meeting in Bali, Indonesia last week prompted accusations that they are backsliding on their emission reduction promises, despite agreeing on a set of voluntary principles to speed the transition to renewable energy.
“It is certainly the case that what we did see was a number of countries backsliding on the commitments that they made in Paris and in Glasgow,” Alok Sharma, the British politician who chaired last year’s COP 26 climate summit in Scotland, told Reuters. “Unless the G20 are willing to act on the commitments they have made in Glasgow I am afraid the prospect of keeping 1.5°C within reach is going to slip away very, very fast.”
Climate ministers from the world’s wealthiest countries, representing 80% of global emissions, “met on the Indonesian resort island for the talks as extreme weather events—fires, floods, and heat waves—pummel several parts of the world, including unprecedented flooding in Pakistan that has killed more than 1,100 people,” Reuters wrote.
But “objections to language on climate targets and the war in Ukraine prevented a joint communiqué from being issued at the G20 ministerial meeting in Bali on Wednesday,” the news agency said, citing diplomatic sources. “Some countries, including China, had objected to previously agreed language in the Glasgow climate pact and past G20 agreements on efforts to limit global average temperature rises to 1.5°C,” Reuters added, citing an unnamed official.
That outcome was unacceptable, Sharma declared. “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 the commitments they have made,” he said.
A day later, G20 energy ministers adopted a Bali Compact that “set out voluntary principles for how the countries would build up renewable energy,” Bloomberg wrote, citing Indonesian Energy Minister Arifin Tasrif. “The compact includes steps to improve renewable energy infrastructure, financing, investment, and technology transfer.”
The agreement also acknowledged “the special circumstances and unique barriers faced by archipelagic island states, remote and island communities, which are found in all corners of the world, particularly in the Pacific,” Tasrif added. Bloomberg said Indonesia is the world’s biggest archipelago.
Days after the meeting, United States climate envoy John Kerry said he was “hopeful” that China would return to bilateral climate negotiations, after stepping away to protest U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August. Talks between the world’s two biggest emitters have to continue “because that will shape the response of other countries around the planet,” Kerry told Bloomberg.
“My hope is that President Xi will recognize the benefit of getting both of us moving in the same direction,” he said. “The world needs to see these two powerful countries actually working together.”