G20 leaders commit to 1.5 degree temperature target

Statement from Bali summit could pave way for agreement in Egypt at Cop27 climate forum

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G20 leaders in Bali on Wednesday agreed to pursue efforts to limit the global average rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius and speed up efforts to phase out coal, potentially opening the way for an agreement between negotiators at the Cop27 climate forum in Egypt.

Progress towards a major deal to double down on commitments to phasing out fossil fuels and step up financing of adaptation and mitigation of climate change has been slow, with officials concerned they would not get a breakthrough by Friday when the Cop27 summit ends.

Negotiating teams from 200 countries in Egypt have been watching the G20 summit in Bali closely for signs that the world's top nations are willing to make new commitments on climate.

“Mindful of our leadership role, we reaffirm our steadfast commitments, in pursuit of the objective of UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] to tackle climate change by strengthening the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and its temperature goal,” a declaration issued at the end of the G20 summit said.

In 2015, governments agreed during a UN summit in France to try to limit the average global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The deal was dubbed the Paris Agreement and was seen as a breakthrough in international climate ambition.

“We resolve to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. This will require meaningful and effective actions and commitment by all countries,” the G20 statement said.

US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry said on Saturday that a few countries had resisted mentioning the 1.5°C goal in the official text of the Cop27 summit.

The G20 declaration urged delegates at Cop27 to “urgently scale up” efforts at the summit on the issue of mitigating and adapting to climate change.

It also made reference to the need to accelerate “efforts towards the phase down of unabated coal power, in line with national circumstances and recognising the need for support towards just transitions”.

India, the world's second-biggest buyer of coal, wants countries to agree to phase down all fossil fuels rather than a narrower deal to phase down coal that was agreed at Cop26 last year.

“We will play our part fully in implementing the [Cop26] Glasgow Climate Pact,” the G20 leaders said.

The statement also reaffirmed an international goal to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” and urged developed nations to meet their commitments to provide $100 billion a year for climate mitigation.

Updated: November 16, 2022, 11:25 AM