Alok Sharma, the UK’s climate delegate, said on Thursday that some of the world’s largest economies are “backsliding” on their carbon promises, a day after the Group of 20 (G20) nations failed to agree on a unified statement at climate talks.
At the G20 ministerial conference on Wednesday in Bali, objections to language on climate objectives and the situation in Ukraine prevented a common communiqué from being released, diplomatic sources said.
Sharma, the leader of the British delegation in Bali and the president of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26), told Reuters that the response from the G20, which is responsible for 80% of world emissions, was “very alarming.”
Without naming any specific countries, he added in an interview, “It is absolutely the fact that what we did observe was a number of governments backsliding on the pledges that they made in Paris and Glasgow.”
“I am concerned the opportunity of keeping 1.5 degrees within reach is going to slip away very, very rapidly unless the G20 are prepared to execute on the pledges they have made in Glasgow.”
As fires, floods, and heat waves ravage numerous regions of the world, including the record flooding in Pakistan that has killed more than 1,100 people, G20 climate ministers gathered on the Indonesian resort island for the meetings.
Science demonstrates that such extreme weather occurrences are driven by human-induced climate change and will only become more severe and frequent as the world approaches the 1.5 degree Celsius warming threshold over pre-industrial levels.
In remarks made prior to the COP27 in Egypt in November, Sharma criticised the stance certain nations had adopted in Bali.
He stated, “The large emitters definitely need to look these nations who are susceptible to climate change in the eye and say they are doing absolutely everything they can to deliver on the pledges they have made.”
Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Indonesia’s environment minister, had urged nations to reduce emissions at the beginning of the gathering to stop the earth from being pushed “to a point where no future would be viable.”
In her final news conference, Siti did not mention the unified communiqué she had previously expressed the hope will be signed by the end of the day on Wednesday.