G20 meets in Bali: the other special climate summit

By Claire Stam
Schwarz-weiß Portrait von Claire Stam

Nasi Goreng, the superstar street food dish in Bali, tries to balance flavor variety and nutritional content. And a balance between climate goals and the need for energy security is something that the G20 leaders will also have to strive for next week.

In fact, the signals coming out of the G20 summit on Nov. 15 and 16 will be crucial for the results achieved at COP27 two days later. Alden Meyer, climate advisor at UK think tank E3G, analyzes, “The geopolitical showdown will be in Bali, not Sharm El-Sheikh, to decide whether the coal phase-out commitments made in Glasgow should be maintained and action accelerated to stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

‘The G20 can make an enormous difference on the climate issue’

“In terms of sequencing, Bali has real leverage. The G20 holds the cards for the fight against global warming,” says Friederike Röder, Vice President for advocacy at the NGO Global Citizen. And this summit is all the more important because the sherpas and ministers have failed to reach agreement on the controversial issues.

So it’s up to the leaders to provide the political impetus. No easy task: In early September, G20 ministers had been unable to agree on a joint declaration on climate protection. Some members, including China, India and Brazil, even refused to mention the 1.5 degree target or revised the resolutions so painfully reached at COP26.

“It is clear that this is where the most important opportunity for action lies; the G20 can make an enormous difference on the climate issue,” Röder continues. This is all the more true this year, as the various appearances by heads of state in Sharm El-Sheikh have not resulted in any major announcements or initiatives, and a number of G20 countries, including China, India, Canada and Australia, have not traveled to Egypt. “Everything remains to be done,” she sums up.

Although it is difficult to move forward without the European Union, observers outside the EU perceive it as weaker and more vulnerable than it was a year ago because of the war in Ukraine. “We need to restore the EU’s leadership and credibility on the international climate diplomacy stage. After all, the EU’s response to the war in Ukraine, which came from Germany in particular, was to free up investments for gas abroad,” Röder stresses.

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