By Jon Queally

Climate groups cried foul Saturday after an agreement generated at the G20 summit in New Delhi, India failed to see the world’s wealthiest bloc of nations make anywhere near the kind of climate commitments—namely an agreement to phase out fossil fuels—required to address the planetary emergency fueled by greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenpeace described the lackluster pledge, which came in the form of a joint G20 communique, as an “incomprehensible failure” in the face of a runaway climate crisis that continues to wreak havoc, death, grave injustice, and economic disaster for working people across the globe.

“Despite record-shattering temperatures, raging wildfires, drought, floods and other climate disasters over recent months impacting tens of millions of people, G20 leaders have collectively failed to deliver anything meaningful on climate change this year,” said Tracy Carty, a global climate politics expert for Greenpeace International.

“Fossil fuels are killing us, and the G20’s reckless failure to act will be measured in further lives and livelihoods lost,” Carty added. “Leaders failed to reach agreement on the phaseout of coal, oil and gas. They also made a timid commitment to triple renewables, but only through ‘existing targets and policies.'”

Alex Rafalowicz, director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty initiative, also expressed dismay with the lack of ambition shown by the G20 leaders.

“World leaders, particularly rich countries, need to rise to the occasion and fulfill their fair share of responsibilities in the fight against the climate crisis. Anything less would be an affront to both humanity and our planet.”

“Continued dependence on fossil fuels remains a primary driver of climate change, carrying dire and irrevocable consequences for ecosystems, communities, and the global economy,” Rafalowicz said in a statement on Saturday.

The failure by the richest nations in the world “to come up with anything substantial on fossil fuel phaseout is unacceptable,” he said. “World leaders, particularly rich countries, need to rise to the occasion and fulfill their fair share of responsibilities in the fight against the climate crisis. Anything less would be an affront to both humanity and our planet.”

The G20 summit in India comes ahead of one-day United Nations climate summit that kicks off in New York City next week and a meeting of the UN General Assembly. While a major protest march by hundreds of climate-focused groups is planned for Sept. 17, the global movement calling for a just energy transition has seen few signs of hope as increasingly severe extreme weather events and dire warnings from the scientific community continue in the face of rising emissions.

UN Secretary General António Guterres, who is hosting what he’s dubbed the “Climate Ambition Summit” in New York, suggested his disappointment with the G20’s limited statement.

“Half-measures will not prevent full climate breakdown,” Guterres said Saturday afternoon. “Today I urged the G20 to demonstrate far more ambition on reducing emissions and supporting climate justice. We have one planet. Let’s save it.”

While some applauded the G20 for the vow to ramp up renewables by the end of the decade, critical experts said an increase in green energy is simply not enough if fossil fuel companies are allowed to continue to extract and burn oil, gas, and coal.

“The G20’s commitment to triple renewable energy is a historic step—a glimmer of hope in our battle against climate chaos,” said Andreas Sieber, associate director of global policy at, but added that it was still not time to celebrate.

“We must hold them accountable, demand they phase out fossil fuels, and lead with urgency,” Sieber added. “In particular, rich nations who bear the most responsibility for climate change must provide the finance required to achieve a tripling of renewable energy capacity globally by 2030.”

Avinash Chanchal, campaign manager at Greenpeace India, said the lack of concrete financing commitments from the rich nations makes such lofty goals around renewables hard to stomach, especially as these top polluting countries remain responsible for 80% of global emissions.

According to Chanchal, “G20 developed countries have utterly failed to take concrete steps to increase international financial support for climate action. Existing promises such as providing USD100BN per year until 2025 in climate finance remain unfulfilled, and merely reiterating these promises in the G20 declaration is useless and will not lead to tangible change.”

article courtesy of Common Dreams

Link to G-20 website

image courtesy of Greenpeace