G20 Summit 2023: How The Green Development Pact Promises To Address Climate Change Challenges

G20 Summit 2023: At the 18th G20 (Group of Twenty) Summit, held from September 9 to 10, 2023, in New Delhi, a final agreement called the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration was adopted. This year’s summit focused on key climate issues, and on Saturday, September 9, a deal called the Green Development Pact for a Sustainable Future was signed. The pact recognises that the present and future generations can be prosperous only if current development and other policy choices and actions resolve environmentally sustainable practices and inclusive economic growth.

The leaders have committed to address climate change challenges and environmental crises, especially those faced by the underprivileged communities living in the least developed countries, and small island developing states.

Green Development Pact signed by keeping in mind Paris Agreement objectives

The pact was signed by keeping in mind the objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is to tackle climate change by strengthening the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and its goal to limit temperature increase to well below two degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

However, the pact notes that the entire world has not yet pursued sufficient efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. Therefore, it is important that all the countries come together to ensure ambitious action is taken on all the pillars of the Paris Agreement.

This is possible through climate finance, international cooperation, collaboration and support, and  sustainable consumption production.

Pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030, compared to 2019 levels

The Green Development Pact recognises that global warming can be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius through reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, compared to the 2019 levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) said that global greenhouse gas emissions are projected to peak between 2020 and at the latest before 2025, according to modelled pathways that limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and also those that limit warming to two degrees Celsius, and assume immediate action. While this means that global greenhouse gas emissions are expected to peak between 2020 and 2025, not all countries should peak their emissions within this timeframe because timeframes for peaking are dependent on poverty eradication needs and sustainable development practices.

Developing nations can peak their greenhouse gas emissions within a certain time period if they receive adequate climate finance from wealthier countries.

Nations urged to align their Nationally Determined Contributions with Paris Agreement goals

The Green Development Pact has also urged the nations that have not yet aligned their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) with the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their NDCs, which are climate action plans signed by all the Parties to the Paris Agreement to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. The pact has asked these nations to take into account different national circumstances while aligning their NDCs with the 2030 targets.

According to Article 4.4 of the Paris Agreement, developed country Parties must take the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets, while developing countries must continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and gradually move towards economy-wide emission reduction targets.

As part of the pact, the G20 leaders have promised to contribute to a successful conclusion of the first global stocktake, or assessment of the amount of stock held by businesses, at COP28, to ensure enhanced climate action.

Commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century

The G20 leaders have committed to achieve global net zero greenhouse gas emissions, of carbon neutrality, by or around the mid-century, which means that the nations want to become carbon neutral by 2050. They aim to incorporate approaches such as a circular carbon economy, and socio-economic and technological development.

The declaration said that the macroeconomic costs of the physical impacts of climate change are significant, and that inaction will prove to be costlier than the amount of money spent on orderly transitions. Therefore, international dialogue and cooperation, especially in the areas of climate finance and tech, can help mitigate these risks.

Lifestyles for Sustainable Development necessary to ensure emission reduction by 2030

The leaders have pledged to mainstream Lifestyles for Sustainable Development (LiFE) in order to ensure significant emission reduction by 2030 for a global net-zero future.

The declaration said that the leaders will thrive to design a circular economy world to enhance sustainable consumption and production, and dissociate economic growth from environmental degradation.

Climate finance, circular economy, and blue economy

The G20 leaders have also pledged to implement clean, sustainable, affordable and inclusive energy transitions to enable strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth, and achieve the climate objectives; deliver on climate and sustainable finance based on the recommendations of the Sustainable Finance Working Group; abide by the multi-year G20 Technical Assistance Action Plan (TAAP) to overcome data-related barriers to climate investments; recognise the need for increased global investments to fulfil the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, and to rapidly scale up climate finance from billions to trillions of dollars globally; emphasise the need of $5.8 to $5.9 trillion in the pre-230 period for developing countries, to implement nationally determined contributions, and the need for $4 trillion per year for clean energy technologies by 2030 to reach net zero emissions by 2050; emphasise the importance of healthy ecosystems and address climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification, drought, land degradation, pollution, food insecurity, and water scarcity, and restore at least 30 per cent of the degraded ecosystems by 2030; commit to conserve, protect, and restore marine ecosystems, and harness an ocean-based economy; end plastic pollution by developing an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution with the ambition of completing its work by the end of 2024; build on the G20 Marine Litter Action Plan; mobilise finances to make the cities of tomorrow sustainable and resilient; and reduce disaster risks and build resilient infrastructure.

Disaster risk reduction

For disaster risk reduction, it is important to accelerate progress on early warning and early action by strengthening national and local capacities, improving private sector investment, and increasing knowledge sharing.

The declaration said that the G20 leaders will continue to support emerging economies, especially the developing countries, least developed countries, and small island developing states, by promoting disaster risk reduction and the development of climate resilience of infrastructure systems.

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