On Thursday, COP28 President-elect Sultan Al Jaber and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Simon Stiell urged G20 countries to take a bigger leadership role in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
With only 125 days before the COP28 climate summit, the leaders released a joint statement on the margins of the G20 ministerial meeting in Chennai, urging G20 nations to "lead the way" in delivering a constructive outcome on mitigation at this year's COP28.
"The science demands a strong mitigation outcome at COP28 that drives a significant reduction in emissions and builds on the progress of previous COPs," the leaders said in a statement. "We call on the G20 to lead the way on the basis of both science and equity and lay the path to a strong and credible outcome that provides developing countries with the basis to undertake a just transition," they said.
"Together, we must take the necessary steps to accelerate the inevitable phase-down of all fossil fuels in a responsible manner, in order to have an energy system free of unabated fossil fuels by the middle of this century while enabling access for all and promoting sustainable development," they said in a statement that also emphasised the importance of tripling global renewable energy capacity and doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements across sectors by 2030.
While the G20 Energy Ministerial discussed energy transition and aligning current pathways with the Paris Goals, the outcome did not provide a clear enough signal for transforming global energy systems, scaling up renewable and clean energy sources, and responsibly phasing out fossil fuels.
"It is our hope that any progress achieved by the G20 drives decisively a strong outcome at COP28 under the Global Stocktake and capitalises on the Just Transition Work Programme established at COP27 to ensure that this transition is fair, leaves no one behind, and supports the broad development challenges faced by developing countries in launching this transition," the statement continued.
The leaders also asked G20 nations to prioritise defining a Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) and operationalizing the loss and damage fund and funding arrangements "to an equal level, to ensure that the human face of climate change is at the centre of all our decisions." Adaptation funding must be boosted immediately, according to the leaders.
"The G20 must reaffirm its commitment to completing the fund's operationalization and funding arrangements." Those on the frontlines of climate change require our assistance now, not in five years. "This is the bar for ambition," they stated in a statement. They also urged the G20 to demonstrate its ability to deliver for the most climate vulnerable countries, such as the least developed countries and small island developing states.
According to the leaders, delivering on the 2030 goal would depend on making climate finance more available, affordable, and accessible to developing countries. "Climate finance arrangements will need to be transformed to deliver at the required scale, to work better as a system, and to support unprecedented levels of private finance mobilisation."
The leaders also urged G20 countries "to urgently prioritise your revised commitments, whether NDCs, NAPs, or on climate finance, including contributions to the ambitious replenishment of the GCF to align with the Paris Goals."
"We must leave Chennai on the right track and with a clear signal that the political will to address the climate crisis and usher in a new era of development is within our grasp, because the road to COP28 is only a short one." Every meeting is important, and every outcome must bring us closer together. "The world's leaders must unite, act, and deliver, and this must begin with the G20," the statement ended.