The G20 countries this Saturday avoided criticizing Russia for invading Ukraine and adopted a minimum consensus on climate change, which does not include the elimination of the use of fossil fuels.
At the end of the first of two days of their summit in New Delhi, the G20 countries found a minimum consensus language that would be acceptable to both Russia and Ukraine-supporting countries in the war that began more than a year and a half ago.
In climate matters, the agreement is so basic which was accepted by countries that advocate the phasing out of fossil fuels and large oil producers such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.
Divisions in the bloc of the world’s 20 largest economies threatened to close the Saturday-Sunday summit without a final declaration, but host country India pushed for one to be agreed.
Regarding the conflict in Ukraine, the group denounced the use of force to achieve territorial gains, but avoided directly criticizing Russia for its invasion released in February 2022.
“There were different criteria and assessments of the situation,” the statement said.
Reviews from kyiv
Although the United States and the European Union (EU) tried to avoid a watered-down statement on Ukraine, a senior White House official said he was satisfied with the outcome.
“From our perspective he does a very good job,” White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan commented on the statement.
He noted that the G20 defends “the principle that States cannot use force to seek territorial conquests or violate the integrity, territorial sovereignty or political independence of other states.”
Instead, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry criticized the final statement: “When it comes to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the Group of 20 has nothing to be proud of,” declared the ministry spokesman.
Tepid deal on climate change
On climate, the G20 also managed to find a lowest common denominator by avoiding a commitment to phase out fossil fuels.
The elimination of this polluting energy was considered “indispensable” on Friday by the UN to achieve the goal of net zero emissions.
The group Yes, he promised to triple renewable energy sources by 2030and to “phase out” coal “in accordance with national circumstances.”
The G20 countries represent about 85% of greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming, and the European Copernicus observatory warned this week that this year is shing up to be the hottest in history.
Call from Lula da Silva
The climate issue was raised at the meeting by the Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who warned: “The lack of a commitment to the environment leads us to an unprecedented climate emergency.”
“Droughts, floods, storms and fires are becoming more frequent and undermining food and energy security,” added Lula, whose country will host the UN climate summit COP30 in 2025.
He also announced that the climate crisis will be part of the G20 agenda when Brazil assumes the presidency of the forum in 2024 and holds the next summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Latin America is also represented at the summit by Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, while Mexican Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador did not attend.
“This G20 had to show the way to a future without fossil fuels,” Friederike Roder, vice president of the Global Citizen organization, said in a statement.
“While it recognizes the (UN) conclusions on reducing emissions by 43% by 2030, it completely fails to mention anything about phasing out all fossil fuels, not just coal.”
For this reason, he described it as “a terrible signal for the world, especially the poorest countries and the most vulnerable populations.”
The Global South
In a shift to position himself as an interlocutor of the Global South, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi formalized in Saturday’s session the incorporation of the African Union (AU) as a permanent member of the G20.
“With everyone’s proval, I call on the AU chief to take his seat as a permanent member of the G20,” Modi said before hugging Comoros President Azali Assoumani, who heads the 55-nation African bloc.
The G20 was born in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis as a mechanism to stabilize the world economy. But over the years, it has shown its limits in reaching consensus among dissimilar partners.
The differences between the member countries became evident before this summit when Chinese President Xi Jinping declined to attend without giving an official explanation, although analysts point to historical border disputes between his country and India as the reason.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, did not attend either and was represented by his Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.
The summit also launched an ambitious plan to develop an infrastructure link between India, the Middle East and Europe that will boost trade in an area that accounts for almost a third of the world economy.
The United States, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, the United Arab Emirates and others signed the agreement that will include railway, electricity, data and a hydrogen pipeline projects, authorities told AFP.
By Marco Sibaja, AFP agency