From 5 to 7 October, our volunteer Teresa Giuffrè attended the C20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. The C20 (Civil 20) is the official G20 engagement group representing civil society. Teresa was selected as a delegate from the “Environment, Climate Justice and Energy Transition”, working group, having contributed this year with ICN to the drafting of policy proposals for the G20 leaders. The proposals were included in the final Policy Pack that the C20 representatives handed over to the Indonesian G20 Presidency at the summit, representing the culmination of the C20 advocacy process. 

Specifically, the recommendations from the Environment, Climate Justice and Energy Transition Group were as follows:

  • Fulfil the G20 Pittsburgh Summit commitment, in line with the Paris Agreement, to phase out fossil fuel subsidies while ensuring access to energy for the poor;
  • Adopt an appropriate, fair and transparent carbon taxation mechanism to accelerate the achievement of net zero emissions;
  • Make an estimate of the compensation owed to developing countries for Loss and Damage suffered due to climate change impacts; compensation to be additional to mitigation and adaptation funding and provided through grants, not loans;
  • Achieve the goal of protecting 30% of the world’s land and marine areas by 2030;
  • Implement national commitments of the G20 Action Plan on marine litter, setting a roadmap to reduce plastic production and consumption;
  • Recognise the importance of the principle of climate justice, integrating it into any G20 mitigation and adaptation action;
  • Promote community-led climate and energy resilience initiatives;
  • Establish an action plan to increase adaptation based on ecosystem services, ensuring inclusiveness, support and participation of local communities;
  • Establish mechanisms in all G20 countries to protect civic space and stop all forms of violence and criminalisation of environmental activists;

Civil society calls on the G20 countries to take the leadership role as they are responsible for 75% of global emissions. The last meeting of the G20 Energy Ministers had a disappointing outcome: due to disagreements on a number of points, including whether or not to include a reference to the need to limit the rise in global average temperatures to +1.5°C. The ministers could not even agree on a final statement. The only conclusion produced by the ministerial, the “Bali COMPACT”, represents a mere set of rather vague principles to be followed, on a voluntary basis, to accelerate the energy transition. Moreover, the informal nature of the G20 means that none of the decisions taken have normative value. 

The process is, however, an important opportunity for civil society to engage in dialogue with countries with enormous political and economic power, but participation is still severely limited. Nonetheless, one of the messages that emerged from the C20 summit is that it is crucial to keep this channel of communication open with the G20 governments and, indeed, to continue pressing for the meetings to become more inclusive, guaranteeing the participation of civil society representatives who are too often denied access. Indeed, many participants of the C20 summit called for a reform process of the G20 to open up to more stakeholders. As things stand, the group appears more and more like a closed club, turned exclusively towards itself.

This was precisely the focus of the side event on October 6th, organised by the Environment, Climate Justice and Energy Transition Group with the theme “Bali Compact: the future of energy transition and the climate agenda”. The panel, which also included ICN volunteer Teresa Giuffrè, discussed possible solutions to make the G20 a group capable of dealing with growing global crises such as the climate crisis. The current crises call for a multilateral and systemic response that includes the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change in decision-making processes. For example, it would be appropriate to include representatives of the group of least developed countries (LDCs) and African countries (apart from South Africa and the African Union, which, with its annually rotating presidency, does not allow the rotating presidency to establish a lasting dialogue with the G20) among the permanent guests. 

What civil society is clamouring is that G20 countries take a leading role in tackling the climate crisis, especially those developed countries that are historically more responsible for climate-changing gas emissions. This translates, on the one hand, into more ambitious mitigation targets, but also into more financial supportlong overdue – for the developing and most vulnerable countries, which are unable on their own to sufficiently reduce emissions or adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Article by Teresa Giuffrè, volunteer and member of the Climate and Advocacy Section

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