20 Nov 2020, 14:31
Julian Wettengel

G20 important for global climate action in 2021 – German official

Clean Energy Wire

The Group of Twenty (G20) major economies could play a crucial role for global climate action next year, said a German government official in Berlin ahead of this year’s digital G20 summit on 21 and 22 November. As the meeting brings together large emitters from around the globe, it has a lot of potential in pushing for more climate action, for example in China, India and Brazil, said the official. “The G20 format could become very important for climate action next year,” said the official.

It remains unclear whether 2021 brings an end to the so-called 19:1 formula, said the official. The final communiqué had usually included this since the G20 summit in Hamburg in 2017. All governments except the United States reaffirmed their commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement. Ever since president Trump announced his country would leave the Paris Agreement, international climate action has lost an important voice for more ambition. The election of Joe Biden as the next US president has sparked hope among German and European politicians for a new partnership on combating climate change.

This year, all G20 countries except the US aim to commit to the Paris Agreement and ambitious national climate targets in this year’s communiqué, but the text was still debated by governments, said the official. Oil-rich host Saudi Arabia is organising a side event on a “circular carbon economy” (CCE) this year, a concept that would allow the continued use of fossil fuels through (re-)using CO₂, or removing it from the atmosphere to store it. “We support CCE, but we think that reducing CO₂ emissions is also an important goal,” said the German official.

The G20 would continue to play a supporting role for global climate action. “To be honest, we will not have climate negotiations in the G20,” said the official, adding that this happened under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with many other countries. The most one could expect from the G20 is a commitment to increase climate ambition – “a sort of tail wind for global climate action”.

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