G20 Split Due to Fossil Fuels

At the meeting of G20 ministers of energy, some of the countries did not want to abandon the use of fossil fuels. At the same time, the outcome document stated the need to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the 21st century.

During the ministerial energy summit held on July 22 in Goa, India, some of the G20 countries stated that they disagreed with the concept of moving away from fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) in order to achieve the “goal of carbon neutrality” as soon as possible. At a press conference following the summit, Minister of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) Raj Kumar Singh said that “these countries have instead proposed using the most modern technologies for removing and converting carbon dioxide (CO2) in the energy transition.” India is currently the regular president of the G20.

It must be said that many countries of the world, including Italy, are also working in this direction. For example, Co2nvert, a circular economy start-up based in Udine, has developed an innovative technology capable of converting carbon dioxide into ethanol, helping to remove pollutants from the atmosphere and turning CO2 into an industrial resource.

“In the broader context of the energy shift, all G20 energy ministers agreed that renewable energy power must grow rapidly. As for the use of fossil fuels, the issue needs to be considered in a much broader context, according to which many countries will not be able to do without it for a long time,” said the Indian minister. It should be remembered that India was the first country in the world to establish the Ministry of Unconventional Energy Resources in the early 1980s, which is now called the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Sources.

During the discussion on the methods of using fossil fuels, two different approaches were identified: the first one is based on the concept of “gradual phasing out the use of fossil fuels” and the second one, supported by two or three countries (not indicated – ed.), provides for the widest possible use of innovative technologies for capturing, using, and storing CO2 (carbon capture, utilization, and storage, CCUS). “Both paths are possible, while the goal of the G20 countries remains the complete elimination of carbon emissions,” Singh emphasized.

As a result, the document approved by all G20 ministers emphasized that “fossil fuels continue to play an important role in the global energy balance, as well as meet the growing demand for energy.”

“Some of the G20 countries,” the outcome document continues, “stressed the importance of taking measures to phase out the use of fossil fuels based on country-specific conditions and regulations, while others expressed various views that suggest developing advanced technologies to eliminate CO2 emissions in fighting pollution.”

However, all countries have recognized the need to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the 21st century. This declaration is in line with the position of the European Union. In European climate law, Brussels is committed to achieving the goal of carbon neutrality, the so-called “zero emissions,” by 2050.