49 countries, who stand to be affected the most by climate change, want G20 to set a date to phase out financial support to fossil fuel industries. Ministers from these countries want gas, coal and oil industry to end by 2020.
G20 has pledged that though it will phase out fossil fuel subsidies that are considered “inefficient” but they will do so at their own pace. However, the investors and campaigners want G20 to follow the deadline set by G7.
Climate Vulnerable Forum’s (CVF) finance ministers made repeated calls to G20 on Sunday to take immediate actions. CVF is a political group, which includes countries that will be affected the most by climate change due to their poverty and geography.
In the V20 Ministerial Communiqué, which was issued in Washington DC’s last weekend meeting, the group wanted fossil fuel production to be stopped and immediately. They wanted the subsidies removed by 2020 and wanted a timeframe to be set by G20 for its elimination.
Chaired by Ethiopia, the CVF meeting concluded that production and financial support to fossil fuels can be proved beneficial if it provides benefits to poor people.
G20, which includes twenty of the largest economies, still spends billions of dollars on fossil fuel through direct finance, tax breaks or any other kind of support they can lend. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued an estimate that it supports the fossil fuel industry with $160 to $200 billion each year.
The CVF and G20 representatives met in a side meeting, where it was discussed how important it is to plan a phase out for fossil fuel subsidies. Heads of state from the G20 will meet in July in Hamburg. It is expected that the German presidency will prioritize climate change, despite Donald Trump’s disdain on the subject.
According to the “Paris Climate Agreement”, which was struck in 2015, countries in the agreement commit to control global warming below “2C” and limit temperature increase in the environment to “1.5C”. CVF has the highest stake in this agreement and are struggling to keep global temperatures even below 1.5C.
Costa Rica’s Ambassador Macaya Hayes believes that a temperature as low as 1.5C is crucial for vulnerable countries, in order to survive. In talks with the US, she said “Survival requires immediate and swift action to be taken by the global community, and above all, the major industrial powers”.
Another thing that has given hope to these vulnerable countries is the promise by rich countries in the form of $100 billion, which they will send each year till 2020, so that they can better cope with the change in the environment.
The CVF communiqué also talked about the US’s budget proposal, which will not be funding climate change and how it would lead to economic instability. The communiqué said, “Investing in climate action is necessary and critical to inclusive development and economic growth”.
Also joining the CVF forum was Lebanon, Gambia, Samoa, Palestine and Colombia. The Marshall Islands came out as the winner and was elected for the Ethiopia chair in 2018.