Dr Sultan Al-Jaber, COP28 President-Designate and Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), on Thursday called upon G20 nations to take a leadership role in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

With only 125 days to go, the leaders today issued a joint statement on the sidelines of the G20 ministerial meeting in Chennai, calling on G20 nations to “lead the way” in delivering a positive outcome on mitigation at the COP28 climate conference this year.

“Together, we must take 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 the statement, which reiterated the importance of tripling global renewable energy capacity and doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements across sectors by 2030.

While the discussions at the G20 Energy Ministerial considered energy transition and aligning current pathways with the Paris Goals, the outcome did not provide a sufficiently clear signal for transforming global energy systems, scaling up renewable and clean energy sources and responsibly phasing down fossil fuels.

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“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 added.

The leaders also urged G20 nations to raise the importance of defining a Global Goal on Adaptation and operationalising 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 finance must be doubled urgently, the leaders said.

“The G20 must affirm its commitment to achieve the operationalisation of the fund and funding arrangements. Those at the frontline of climate change need our support now, not in five years’ time. This is the benchmark for ambition,” they said in the statement. They also called on the G20 to show that it can deliver for the most climate vulnerable, including the least developed countries and small island developing states.

Delivering on the 2030 agenda will depend on making climate finance more available, affordable and accessible to developing countries, the leaders said. “Climate finance arrangements will need to be transformed to deliver at the necessary scale, to work better as a system and support private finance mobilisation at unprecedented levels.”

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The leaders also called on G20 nations “to urgently prioritise their 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 path and with a clear signal that the political will to tackle the climate crisis and launch a new era of development is within our grasp, because it is only a short path to COP28. Every meeting counts, every outcome must bring us closer. The world needs its leaders to unite, act and deliver, and that must start with the G20,” the statement said.