Some G-20 nations 'backsliding' on climate targets, says British envoy

Scientists say extreme weather events such as floods are attributable to human-caused climate change. PHOTO: AFP

BALI - Some of the world's major economies are "backsliding" on their emissions commitments, Britain's climate delegate Alok Sharma said Thursday, a day after a meeting of the Group of 20 (G-20) nations failed to adopt a joint communique at their climate talks.

Objections to language on climate targets and the war in Ukraine prevented a joint communique from being issued at the G-20 ministerial meeting in Bali Wednesday, diplomatic sources said.

Mr Sharma, president of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) and head of the British delegation in Bali, told Reuters the response from the G-20, which accounts for 80 per cent of global emissions, was "incredibly worrying".

"It is certainly the case that what we did see was a number of countries backsliding on the commitments that they made in Paris and in Glasgow," he said. "Unless the G-20 are willing to act on the commitments they have made in Glasgow, I am afraid the prospect of keeping 1.5 degrees within reach is going to slip away very, very fast."

Sharma did not single out any countries, but sources Wednesday said some members, including China, objected to previously agreed upon language in COP26 and past G-20 agreements on efforts to limit global temperature rises from reaching 1.5 deg C.

G-20 climate ministers met Bali for the talks, as extreme weather events - fires, floods and heat waves - pummelled several parts of the world, including unprecedented flooding in Pakistan that has killed at least 1,000 people.

Scientists say most such extreme weather events are attributable to human-caused climate change and will only increase in severity and frequency as the globe edges closer to the warming threshold of 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels.

In comments ahead of November's COP27 in Egypt, Mr Sharma said the position some countries had taken in Bali was unacceptable.

"The big emitters absolutely need to look these climate vulnerable countries in the eye and say they are doing absolutely everything they can to deliver on the commitments they have made," he said. REUTERS

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