G20 nations agree to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030

Indian Presidency establishes Green Hydrogen Innovation Centre under International Solar Alliance

By Seema Prasad
Published: Monday 11 September 2023
G20 New Delhi Leaders Declaration was adopted by leaders of the G20 countries at the summit on September 9, 2023. Photo: @narendramodi / X, previously known as Twitter

The G20 New Delhi Leaders Declaration, adopted by leaders of the G20 countries at the summit on September 9, 2023, encouraged tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030. 

It also took note of the voluntary action plan for doubling the rate of energy efficiency by 2030 that the G20 Energy Transition Working Group had agreed on in July 2023.

The document asked countries to demonstrate similar ambition for zero and low-emission technologies, including abatement and removal technologies, in line with national circumstances by 2030.

Read more: G20 Summit: New Delhi Leaders' Declaration adopted with consensus on various environmental goals

Not changing the language and the status quo regarding the phasing-down of fossil fuel from last year, the document called for “accelerating efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power, in line with national circumstances and recognising the need for support towards just transitions”.

Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at Climate Action Network International, condemned this in a press statement. “While the G20’s commitment to renewable energy targets is commendable, it sidesteps the root cause — our global dependency on fossil fuels,” said Singh.

In a first, the G20 noted, “the need of $5.8-5.9 trillion in the pre-2030 period required for developing countries, in particular for their needs to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions.”

“While it also rightly stated the need for tripling renewable energy and access to low-cost finance as the need for finance is estimated to the tune of $4 trillion annually, the agreement is on facilitating and not committing to it,” said Vibhuti Garg, Director, South Asia, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. 

Beyond this, there was no further commitment to increase the $100 billion for developing countries.  

Read more: G20 Summit: Good progress on easing debt in Zambia, Ethiopia & Ghana, says finance minister

“As the climate crisis looms like a dark cloud over humanity, the world cries out for a just transition away from fossil fuels,” said Singh. “Rich nations within this group of leading economies have not only failed to curb their own emissions but have also fallen short in financially aiding developing countries with their green initiatives.”

It’s high time for these nations to lead by example, turn their promises into actions and help forge a greener, more equitable future for all, he added. 

Countries that intend to adopt nuclear energy as part of their commitments to adopt clean energy and develop advanced and small modular reactors will share best practices and knowledge and work on mutually beneficial terms, the leaders said.

These countries will promote responsible nuclear decommissioning, radioactive waste and spent fuel management as well as international cooperation to promote nuclear safety globally, they added.

Moreover, to support the production of hydrogen produced from zero and low-emission technologies and its derivatives, such as ammonia, the G20 countries plan on developing voluntary and mutually agreed harmonising standards and inter-operable certification schemes.

“To realise this, we affirm the ‘G20 High Level Voluntary Principles on Hydrogen’, to build a sustainable and equitable global hydrogen ecosystem that benefits all nations. We take note of the Presidency’s initiative to establish the Green Hydrogen Innovation Centre steered by the International Solar Alliance,” the document said.

Read more: PM Modi: Climate action ambitions must match with action on climate finance

Fossil subsidies by G20 countries amounted to $1.4 trillion in 2022, due to an energy price crisis after Russia invaded Ukraine, according to a recent report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development.

In an effort to redirect this amount to vulnerable populations, the document stated on subsidies, “Will increase our efforts to implement the commitment made in Pittsburgh in 2009 to phase-out and rationalise, over the medium-term, inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and commit to achieve this objective, while providing targeted support for the poorest and most vulnerable.” 

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