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G20 faces ‘difficult’ climate negotiations

US President’s Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry (right) with COP26 President Alok Sharma at the G-20 Joint Climate and Environment Ministers Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, August 31, 2022 .

Firdia Lisnawati | Afp | beautiful pictures

BALI, Indonesia – G-20 ministers gathered in Indonesia to discuss their carbon emissions progress. But expectations are low.

The group of 20 countries represents about 75% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. In 2021, the group recognized that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would require “meaningful and effective” steps.

But frustration at the lack of concrete measures at a time when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted some governments to keep using coal for longer than they expected.

Rob Jetten, the Dutch Minister of Climate and Energy, told CNBC in Bali: “Many countries around the world are strongly condemning Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine…so it is difficult to negotiate with the Russians. .

Russia is among the G-20 nations. This month, Sky News and others reported that Russia is exploiting natural gas which is usually exported to Europe. According to the G-20 host, Indonesia, Russian President Vladimir Putin will participate in a meeting of leaders scheduled for November.

“There’s also a major energy crisis, prices around the world are high, people are struggling to pay for energy. And this also… doesn’t help climate actions. , because many countries are going back to fossil fuels,” says Jetten.

As the Kremlin invades Ukraine without cause and natural gas flows from Russia to Europe are disrupted, countries including the Netherlands, Germany and Austria say they will have to burn more coal – a fuel fossil.

Other regions of the world have increased coal consumption, including China, which has experienced The heat wave is fierce this summer and is using record amounts of energy.

Those decisions, even if temporary, are different from previous agreements.

An official from one of the participating countries, who did not wish to be named due to the sensitivity of the negotiations, said the main challenge facing these meetings was “how can we keep the countries involved?” compliance with (climate) goals.”

“Many (countries) are trying to be flexible. Can we please keep the targets?” official said.

The Indonesian government admits the negotiations are difficult.

“The discussion about this commitment is quite challenging because it brings certain impacts to some member countries,” the President of G-20 Indonesia said in a statement. statement before meetings.

“Current geopolitical conditions also create challenge(s) in the ongoing negotiations,” it added, regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tanya Plibersek, Australia’s Environment and Water Minister, said Russia’s attack on its neighbour had made “negotiations complicated. But there’s no way countries can ignore aggression.” illegal Ukraine strategy. That has to be what’s being talked about in international meetings like this.”

Meanwhile, extreme weather events around the world are likely to make the need for government action more urgent than ever. Pakistan, for example, is experiencing devastating floods, with a third of the country inundated.

A government minister there told Reuters the international community had a “responsibility” to help Pakistan and prevent future extreme weather events, given the country’s carbon emissions are among the lowest. In the world.

In Europe, a drought in Germany lowered the Rhine’s water levels, making it more difficult to transport fuel, wheat and other commodities.

“We need to step up our game and all these extreme weather events around the world – in Europe, Asia Pacific, but also in the Americas, [are] Our true wake-up call, for everyone. that we must act now,” said Dutch Minister Jetten.

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