Climate and Environment

G20 is holding a summit in Bali this week. What that could mean for the Philippines

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
G20 is holding a summit in Bali this week. What that could mean for the Philippines
Flags of the participating countries line a highway leading to the venue of the G20 Bali Summit in Nusa Dua, Bali on November 12, 2022.
AFP/Dicky Bisinglasi

BALI, Indonesia — The G20 summit in Indonesia should result in the delivery of adequate climate financing to developing countries and decarbonization measures as countries like the Philippines bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change.

Leaders of G20, or Group of 20 industrialized nations, will gather in Bali, Indonesia this week against the backdrop of extreme weather events across the world, an energy crisis resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and continued China-US tensions.

Indonesia, this year’s host and Southeast Asia’s only G20 member state, seeks to frame the summit’s agenda around global health architecture, sustainable energy transition, and digital transformation.

"Indonesia’s G20 presidency holds significance in terms of at least two things. One, it is one of the most vital countries in the urgent task of a swift, equitable and just  transition out of fossil fuels in order to limit global warming to below 1.5°C," Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, told Philstar.com.

Indonesia is dubbed as coal’s last bastion as it is heavily reliant on the planet-warming fossil fuel. The Southeast Asian country is also the world’s largest exporter of coal, and the Philippines imports most of its supply from Indonesia. 

Indonesia should also lead in demanding full delivery of climate finance obligations that developed countries have made, Nacpil added. The financing is meant to cover the costs of mitigation and adaptation for poorer countries, as well as for loss and damage to vulnerable nations.

"The G20 summit must deliver on urgent climate actions, especially at this time as intensifying climate impacts are hitting many countries in Asia," she said. 

Why it matters

The G20 is composed of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.

Seventeen G20 heads of state, including US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, will convene on the Indonesian resort island on November 14 and 15. 

The Philippines, while not a G20 nation, has a lot at stake at the summit.

"[It] is among the countries most impacted by issues that are truly global in nature—such as the climate and energy crises from massive dependence on fossil fuels," Avril De Torres, deputy executive director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development, told Philstar.com.

"The policy and development directions put forward by global powers gathering next week in Indonesia can dictate how these crises will or not be addressed," she added. 

Crucial results not expected

APMDD’s Nacpil said groups are not expecting "significant" outcomes from the summit in Bali, noting that G20 gatherings have always been dominated by the interests of Group of Seven or G7 governments and hijacked by geopolitics. 

G7 is an informal bloc of the world’s advanced economies such as Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 

"G7 governments have been making many promises—on climate finance, on ending fossil fuel subsidies this year, on the rapid phase out of fossil fuels. But they have been very short on implementation, the promises are riddled with exceptions and loopholes," Nacpil said. 

Last year's G20 summit in Rome urged for "meaningful and effective" action to limit global warming, but climate activists criticized the bloc for offering few concrete pledges. They committed to stop financing coal power overseas, but set no timetable for phasing it out in their home countries.

The G20 Leaders’ Summit will take place on November 15 to 16, coinciding with the second week of the COP27 climate talks in Egypt. The financing for loss and damage is a major topic for conversation at the summit in the resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh. 

"What's the sure thing is that the climate vulnerable group, the V20s, the finance ministers, and the G7 will be launching their climate shield against climate risks," Sara Jane Ahmed, finance advisor of the Vulnerable Group of Twenty, told ABS-CBN News Channel.

"[T]his is one way to move forward on the loss and damage agenda in order to ensure that there is prearranged and trigger-based financing made available for countries, enterprises, and communities."



This story was supported by Climate Tracker Asia. 

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