We very much welcome the G20 summit 2023 declaration on “Strengthening Global Health and Implementing One Health Approach”, the understanding of “Culture as a Transformative Driver of SDGs”, the steps in direction of a “globally fair, sustainable and modern international tax system” and the integration of the African Union (AU) as a permanent member.
But, the G20 summit 2023 declaration shows over all in our view a fatal basic understanding. Based on the G20, we are still in need of further economic growth, which means further need of (natural) resources. It also shows the clear mindset, industrialised countries (USA, Europe), emitting high amounts of green house gases (GHG), can pay for the harm global warming will do to weak industrialised areas. These areas are close to the equator, have strong sunshine impact and thus are most vulnerable.
Money can not buy love, produce food, water or calm weather, healthy sunshine and appropriate rainfall. There is a strong and in our view very dangerous mindset, a kind of presumptuous or overbearing attitude, that money and technology can get us out of global warming and the changing climate. They still seem not to understand the system dynamics on draughts, wildfires, floods, heatwaves and water shortage on a global scale.
The G20 summit 2023 declaration shows, how politics suppresses and how populistic the political “actions” are. Main focus was the certainly horrifying war in the Ukraine, which of course has to stop. But in relation to the humanitarian catastrophe caused by global warming and the loss of biodiversity, the war in Ukraine is small and keeps the attention away from the more complex and long-term topics.
If global warming is to be limited based on the “UN Paris Agreement” (hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels), it demands a reduction of 43% global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 relative to the year 2019. (see G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration, 09.-10.09.2023, p. 11)
Actually, based on the data from the “IPCC — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” and “Our World in Data”, the overall carbon dioxide emissions worldwide are still growing. In 2021 we emitted the most carbon dioxide ever in the history of humankind and it’s still growing (see graph).
It is highly unlikely in our view, that G20 is able to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide within the next seven years to almost half of it (-43%).
Based on the data from “Our World in Data”, the Covid-19 pandemic was able to reduce GHG emissions by around 5%, not more. Although Covid-19 forced significantly to stop economic and social life. So imagine what kind of change within our economic and social life is actually necessary to reduce the GHG emissions to the needed level of -43% relative to 2019.
Based on that, in our view there is unfortunately no doubt about that, we will not make it and we are facing a humanitarian catastrophe, potentially billions of people dying from the severe effects of global warming. The current global governance, especially G7 & G20 are not able to cope with that.
In our view, they actually have weakened the Paris Agreement, since they explicitly allow countries to reach their peak GHG emissions later than recommended by the IPCC:
“… We also take note of the finding of the IPCC AR6 Synthesis Report, based on global modelled pathways and assumptions, stating that “Global GHG emissions are projected to peak between 2020 and at the latest before 2025 in global modelled pathways that limit warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot and in those that limit warming to 2°C and assume immediate action.” This does not imply peaking in all countries within this timeframe; timeframes for peaking may be shaped by sustainable development, poverty eradication needs, equity, and in line with different national circumstances. …”G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration, 09.-10.09.2023, p. 11-12
This shows to us the need for the probably greatest and most important transformation and change project in human history, the development of a “Global Democratic Republic Earth”. We need to give (back) the power to the people, away from global corporations, away from the idea, economic competition can bring us optimised resource allocation and away from global governance based on particular national interest and diplomacy from different countries.
We need grass-roots democratically legitimised global institutions. Based on that, they will be powerful enough to cope with the global crises, first of all the global warming and the loss of biodiversity.