The G20 Summitry and Energy Concerns

Arshad Dijoo

Currently the two day annual summit of the Group of Twenty most influential and economically advanced countries is going on in the health resort of Bali in Indoneasia.
It is the seventeenth summit of the world’s most advanced economies representing 75 percent of the world population.

The G20 was established in the year 1999 for “international cooperation on financial and economic issues”.

Precisely the G20 comprises of the following nineteen countries plus the European Union; Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain and USA.

In this Bali summit the core issues at hand are the “World Economic Recovery, World Health Systems and Climate Change”.
While the theme of the summit being “Recover together, Recover stronger”.

Also there are other pertinent issues to be debated upon. These being “Digital Transformation along-with Food and Energy Security”.

Notably in presence of the sixteen top world leaders at stage, the Indonesian president Joko Widodo will hand over baton to the Indian premier Narendra Modi and from December 01- 2022, India officially will commence the presidency of the Group of twenty most influential economies and will be hosting the next G20 summit.

The current summit is occurring at a time when the global economies are on a downward slide in post covid scenario and hardly any revival has been seen. In addition to it there has been a severe impact of the Russia-Ukraine war badly impacting the energy markets.
Plus the sanctions on the Russian exports adding to energy woes.

So a paradigm shift in the energy consumption at this stage is a big ask from intended countries whose economies are badly dependent on fossil fuels.

Meanwhile the current summit may also lead to many Diplomatic breakthroughs at bilateral levels where we are already seeing PM Narendra Modi meeting President Joseph Biden amongst others especially the Chinese Primer Xi Jinping first time since the border standoff in the Ladakh border sector where in one such incident many Indian soldiers suffered casualties.
It has been for the first time eversince that military face off that the two heads have exchanged pleasantries on the dinner table yesterday.
The value of this brief exchange of greetings can be gauged from the fact that despite being closely proximate on the podium last year the two leaders didn’t see eye to eye.

Now comming to the main summit point in view of the severe climatic alterations over the years. It is being pushed hard that the devoping nations execute severe energy cuts on the polluting sources of energy consumption that the world sees a remarkable change over the horizon with lesser extreme climatic events, temperature rises and crop failures in many countries.

Ironically the developing nations are being asked to sudden reduce the carbon emissions and choke their economies when the developed west has been polluting the atmosphere with impunity.

Notably the Global South is up to resist such moves of the “big daddies” who while themselves having held the previous set targets in breach have done very little to handhold the fragile economies of the south in dollar terms and by technolgy transfers.

Rightly the Prime Minister Modi in his address at the Bali Summit argued for energy safety of the developing economies and a continuation of the usage of fossil resources untill the west’s fulfillment of capital injection for a smooth transition to cleaner paradigms and equally pitching for appropriate technology transfer for the Global South, the developing world.

In the backdrop of the covid induced lock downs and its aftermath on the world economics the leaders from advanced economies have so far not fulfilled the previously assured monetary targets needed for lesser reliance and consumption of fossil fuels and the resultant cuts in polluting energy consumption by the south.

It’s estimated that the cost of energy shifts for the developing economies has been calculated in whopping billions of dollars. While as the advanced economies have been reluctant to meet the set targets on time. The same has been the scenario on technology front.
While for the advanced global economies it’s supposed to hasten the technology transfers to the developing economies which has not been the case so far.

Therefore rightly the Prime Minister Narendra Modi while arguing at the Bali Summit for energy security of the south has in no uncertain terms reminded the world leaders that they cannot force down the developing nations for a sudden cessation of fossil fuel use for an extended period of time untill there is appropriate handholding by the west in terms of export of technological advancements and pumping of estimated dollars into such economies which are otherwise incapable to shift to cleaner energy sources to run their developmental activities.

PM Modi was right to ask for assurances for continuation of such fossil fuel based activities which include reliance on coal, gas and other petroleum products. He opposed any restrictions on supply of energy in the global markets especially in the backdrop of Ukraine war.
“By 2030, half of our electricity will be generated from renewable sources. Therefore time-bound and affordable finance and sustainable supply of technology to developing countries is essential for inclusive energy transition,” the PM noted at the Bali Summit yesterday.

“We must not allow any restrictions on supply of energy and therefore stability in the energy market should be ensured,” he said, adding that India is committed to clean energy and environment.

While it’s right that the fossil fuels based emissions into the atmosphere has been detrimental to the diverse natural life on earth but a sudden choking of traditional energy supplies to the developing world cannot be just unless a smooth transition is reached where the major polluting nations itself act as facilitators of the change.

For such a mega change in India for instance it requires eighty percent of the vehicles to be battery operated to check the fossil fuel usage.

It’s true that from CoP-26 at Glasgow last year to the current CoP-27 at Sharam Al Sheikh in Egypt nothing much has been achieved and the parameters are glaring at the faces of the world leaders.

Heatwaves in the west, floods like those recently in Pakistan, melting ice caps, crop failures and rising sea levels do continue to occur.

And add to it that the global population has reached an eight billion mark only recently as per the current UN population report.

Therefore what’s needed in conclusion is a fine balance and a smooth reduction of fossil fuel usage and emissions thereof.

And in order to achieve this an active participation of global west is needed to carry on the change.

With immediate technology transfer and infusion and the requisite costs from the main polluting nations we can achieve the results whereby new, renewable and replenshible energy sources are tapped and the developing economies of the global south catch up the bandwagon of pollution free coexistence.

(Arshad Dijoo is a Gold Medalist in Journalism and can be reached at [email protected])

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