Press releases

G20 Summit: opportunity to lead in raising climate ambition

New Delhi
G20 Summit 2023 will be hosted in New Delhi, Delhi, India. Photo by Laurentiu Morariu on Unsplash. 
  • G20 countries, responsible for 80% of GHG emissions and 85% of GDP, have a crucial role in addressing the climate crisis.
  • They must take the lead in achieving goals such as phasing out fossil fuels, tripling renewable energy capacity, and doubling energy efficiency gains by 2030.
  • Progress on finance, including addressing mounting debt, scaling transition finance, and guiding private finance towards green investments, is essential.

G20 countries have both the responsibility and economic heft to tackle the climate crisis head-on. Their leadership is needed if we are to see COP28 reach an agreement on transformational action to phase out fossil fuels, triple renewable energy capacity and double the rate of energy efficiency gains by 2030, and sharply scale up finance for developing countries to decarbonise their economies and cope with rapidly mounting climate impacts.

Yet hopes for bolder climate action from the G20 this year have so far been hamstrung by geopolitical spats between these major powers, with little progress made on these issues at meetings of energy, environment, and finance ministers. Coming off a summer of climate disasters across the globe and expectations for international support set at the African Climate Summit, G20 leaders need to raise their sights and demonstrate to the world that they are willing to cooperate to protect people from unconstrained climate change.

Opportunities for Leadership 

Here are some of the opportunities for G20 leaders to demonstrate climate ambition, setting the tone for the rest of the year in the lead-up to COP28.

Accelerating clean, efficient energy 

Renewable energy has emerged as a key driver of global economic competitiveness. Leading economies have taken bold strides towards transitioning to clean energy sources, bringing us closer to reaching peak fossil fuel demand. The G20, which includes the world’s largest emitters, has the potential to launch a brighter economic trajectory for the world.

From the UAE’s COP vision paper and discussions at the G20 Energy Ministerial, it is now evident that many countries support targets for phasing out fossil fuels, and accelerating the adoption of clean, efficient energy sources. G20 leaders need to seize the opportunity to support the tripling of global renewables capacity and doubling the rate of energy efficiency by 2030, and build on the Bali declaration’s commitment to accelerate efforts to phase down unabated coal by including phase out of fossil fuels.

The cheapest and fastest way to reduce emissions from electricity will be through the rapid rollout of renewable technologies like wind and solar – not through the pursuit of expensive technologies like carbon capture and storage, which cannot feasibly deliver the substantial emissions reductions we need to see to stay in line with the Paris Agreement goals.

The onus is now on G20 leaders to provide a robust framework for global discussions on how more nations can access a clean, affordable, and resilient energy future.

Driving finance system reforms 

This year’s G20 has not seen the hoped-for progress on finance, which is vital in an increasingly unstable world. However, the summit is a prime venue for the world’s largest economies to progress on addressing mounting debt burdens, scaling up transition finance and guiding private finance to green through the enactment of new rules and guardrails for the financial system.

We are looking to G20 leaders to acknowledge private sector transition plans as a critical tool to align financial system flows with the need of the transition, and to commit to centring this topic in their 2024 work plan, especially at the Finance Ministerial level. This would build on the positive outcome seen on this front in the G7 in 2023.

G20 leaders should positively welcome the second volume of a report on multilateral development banks produced by an Independent Expert Group, and commit to implementing its recommendations as soon as possible. This is vital to ensure that the G20, and developing countries, can build their economies sustainably and in line with net zero.

Scaling up action on adaptation and loss and damage

G20 leaders must clearly acknowledge the climate risk and security dimension of climate action and lay out a clear path forward for substantially scaling up financing for both adaptation and loss and damage. They should help resolve the differences between developed and developing countries on the design, operation, and sources of financing for the new Loss and Damage Fund that was agreed at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh and express their support for a robust agreement at COP28 on the Global Goal on Adaptation.  


Alden Meyer, E3G Senior Associate, said:

“To close the yawning ambition gaps on cutting emissions, scaling up climate finance, and protecting people from the ravaging impacts of climate change, G20 leaders need to rise above their differences and provide real leadership. Heading into this week’s final round of negotiations amongst G20 Sherpas in Delhi, there were disagreements on several key climate and energy issues. It is up to Prime Minister Modi to engage other leaders at this weekend’s summit to broker agreements on issues that Sherpas fail to resolve, to send a signal that the transformational change we need to see is indeed possible.”

Madhura Joshi, E3G Senior Associate, said: 

“Phasing fossil fuels out is going to be a crucial, messy, and unavoidable fight. But it’s one that leaders need to have. And have it now. This needs to go hand-in-hand with scaling up finance and increasing renewables capacity. For the first time ever, a global renewable energy target – tripling renewables capacity by 2030 – is being discussed by world leaders in G20. This is encouraging. But in the midst of raging climate impacts, the world needs G20 leaders to move beyond their differences and agree to an ambitious and equitable agenda of action this decade.” 

Available for comment

Alden Meyer, Senior Associate (multilateral climate and clean energy diplomacy, mitigation ambition, US policy & politics)
m: +1-202-378-8619, 

Madhura Joshi, Senior Associate, E3G (Indian geopolitics and policy, energy transition)  
m: +91 9650783893,  

Camilla Fenning, Programme Lead (fossil fuel transition, coal phase-out, Southeast Asia and India) 
m: +44 (0) 7961 047835, 

Lisa Fischer, Programme Lead (energy geopolitics, renewables, fossil fuels, gas) 
m: +44 (0)7710 167754, 

Sima Kammourieh, Programme Lead (G7/G20 finance ministers) 
m: +49 (0) 160 9596 4443, 

Notes to Editors

  1. E3G is an independent climate change think tank with a global outlook. We work on the frontier of the climate landscape, tackling the barriers and advancing the solutions to a safe climate. Our goal is to translate climate politics, economics and policies into action. 
  2. About – E3GFor further enquiries email or phone +44 (0)7783 787 863


Subscribe to our newsletter