(Bloomberg) — The Group of Twenty energy ministers meeting in India ended without a consensus on the phase-down of fossil fuels, adding to the sluggish progress on climate diplomacy ahead of key meetings this year.
While some countries agreed on the need to phase down unabated use of oil and gas, others argued that concerns over emissions could be addressed by carbon removal technologies, according to the meeting’s outcome document.
“A couple of countries from the Middle East felt that emission concerns could be addressed by technologies like carbon capture, use and sequestration (CCUS) or other abatement technologies,” Raj Kumar Singh, India’s power minister, told reporters after the meeting. “Both pathways are fine.”
“By and large, all members were on the same page on the need to tackle climate change,” Singh added.
Saturday’s talks in the coastal province of Goa were intended to set the tone on energy transition ahead of a meeting of G20 leaders in September and the COP28 forum in Dubai in December.
The ministers met as extreme weather batters parts of Europe, Asia and the US, including heat waves that have toppled temperature records and led to deaths in India and elsewhere. That’s prompted demands for more urgency in climate action, and for nations to make a greater commitment to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C.
Negotiations in the past week between US and China — the world’s two biggest emitters — failed to deliver major progress, though the countries will accelerate discussions and found some agreement on the need to reduce coal usage, said US climate envoy John Kerry.
The officials at Goa also failed to agree on a common language to criticize Russia over its invasion of Ukraine in 2022, which upended global supply chains and hit energy supplies to many countries.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck assailed Russian First Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin for promoting a “twisted worldview” on the origins of the energy crisis, and for the war in Ukraine in general. Habeck, who’s also minister for climate action, attended the gathering as the final stop of a three-day trip to India leading a delegation of German lawmakers and business leaders.
Russia and Saudi Arabia objected to an agreement to triple renewable generation capacity by 2030, and China prevented increased cooperation on critical raw materials, according to Habeck.
There was also unanimity on mobilizing low-cost finance for the energy transition, development of technologies such as clean hydrogen, energy storage as well as providing universal access to energy, according to the meeting document.
The group also agreed to consider blue hydrogen — produced in a process that emits carbon dioxide which is sequestered — at par with green hydrogen.