G20 climate talks end without communique

Published September 1, 2022
Ministers and head of delegates attend a meeting as Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar delivers a speech during the G20 Joint Environment and Climate Ministers’ Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali on August 31. — Reuters
Ministers and head of delegates attend a meeting as Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar delivers a speech during the G20 Joint Environment and Climate Ministers’ Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali on August 31. — Reuters

BALI: Group of 20 climate talks in Bali ended without a joint communique on Wednesday despite host Indonesia warning the world’s leading economies they must act together to combat a warming planet or risk plunging into “uncharted territory”.

The one-day meeting on the resort island concluded with Indonesia’s environment chief saying G20 chair Jakarta would only issue a summary of the forum’s aims, reflecting divisions between its members over how to tackle climate change.

The failure to agree upon a unified statement came at the end of a month in which more than 1,000 people died in Pakistan from flooding blamed on climate change and after a drought exacerbated by a record heatwave spread across half of China.

At a closing press conference, Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya Bakar said the summary would detail the forum’s “shared commitment and shared steps”.

It is a similar move to that seen in finance talks in Indonesia in July where the host _ which maintains a neutral foreign policy _ issued a chair statement after ministers disagreed over Russia’s responsibility for global economic turmoil in light of its invasion of Ukraine.

“We cannot say that,” Bakar said when asked if there was no communique because of geopolitical disagreements.

“But the chair summary is something we can achieve given the geopolitical issues and (given) some countries cannot be flexible on certain issues.

“Just like in many working groups, issues on Russia and Ukraine have become geopolitical tension.”

Another source close to the meeting said G20 members “did not manage to reach a joint communique” and most countries started their speeches by condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though there were no walkouts or clashes when the Russian representative spoke.

“The reason that killed the communique from the start is the presence of Russia today,” the source said.

Moscow only sent a deputy minister for economic development to the talks.

In her opening remarks Bakar told delegates that “global environmental problems require global solutions” and nations “cannot solve those global environmental problems on our own”.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2022

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