Backsliding by G20 nations on climate is alarming when we need an emergency plan’

26 June 2019

The world's largest economies must respond with solutions proportionate to the magnitude of the climate emergency 

Bonn, 26 June 2019: In light of the worrying signals that the G20 are sending about their lack of commitment to climate ambition, civil society said that these countries are threatening to exacerbate the climate emergency and push the limits of dangerous warming beyond 1.5C degrees.

Language on climate change and the Paris Agreement of the G20 communique expected to come out of the leaders’ summit in Osaka, Japan this Friday, is looking weak and alarming. Worryingly, it omits the phrases “global warming” and “decarbonisation”. The message coming from the G20 countries indicates that they will continue to support fossil fuel subsidies and overall expansion.

Civil society representatives, who spoke at a press conference in Bonn, said that countries are going against the tide of their citizens' demands and are ignoring the science. This will make these countries irrelevant and their policies incompatible with the reality on the ground.

Countries are increasingly caving to fossil fuels interests and the agenda of rich polluters backing them, which will lead to more intense and frequent climate impacts and loss and damage.


Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, CAN Canada, said:

“So far, 2019 has been characterized by two trends: people losing their homes and their lives at unimaginable rates thanks to the floods, fires and famines caused by climate chaos, and; governments beholden to fossil fuel interests teaming up to hijack multilateral events like the G20 with destructive anti-climate agendas that betray the people who depend on them. It is sickening. Governments of the world listen up: either we confront climate change with you or without you. Act now or become irrelevant.”

Kelly Trout, Senior Research Analyst, Oil Change International, said:

“The latest analysis shows G20 countries are still propping up coal to the tune of $64 billion a year, tripling support for coal plants since 2013. G20 host Japan is one of the worst offenders on coal, and now may be leading the G20 backward on climate commitments in Osaka.”

“Ten years ago, G20 leaders came out of their summit pledging to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. At this stage of climate emergency, every new subsidy that helps lock in fossil fuel pollution is not only inefficient but unconscionable.”

“It’s good to see a growing list of governments declaring climate emergencies. But in the real world, no rational person would pull a fire alarm with one hand and then fan the flames with the other. This is what G20 governments as long as they continue to support and fund the expansion of oil, gas and coal production and burning adding fuel to the fire of the climate crisis. The carbon mass shows we already have enough oil, gas and coal under development globally to push the world well above 1.5C degrees of warming.”

“So it’s time for governments to decide here in Bonn, at the G20 and at the UNSG Summit this September. Are they for the Paris Agreement goals or are they for the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. Those two things are no longer compatible. To limit global warming to 1.5°C, all new investment needs to be in renewable solutions not new sources of pollution.” 

Nouhad Awwad, CAN Arab World Regional Coordinator, said:

“We need transparency in the process and civil society participation in national and regional policy-making and for the private sector to assume its responsibilities. Most importantly, we need progress on finance, which is lacking here. Finance is limited to humanitarian response and no funds are allocated to land rehabilitation, territorial losses and other issues to treat the massive human suffering from climate impacts. For the drought in Madagascar, only 20.7% of the needed amount was delivered and for the drought in Somalia only 21.7% of the needed amount was delivered.”

Sriram Madhusoodanan, Deputy Campaigns Director, Corporate Accountability, said:

“For decades, we’ve seen that the UN climate talks have failed to deliver the kind of action that people are demanding around the world. For years, time and again the influence and interference of the very corporations and industries that have fueled this crisis, that have blocked and undermined progress, is apparent within these walls. This is one of the greatest challenges we’re now facing as we work collectively to address the climate crisis that the same industries here with us are trying to ensure that everything remains business as usual. Fossil fuel corporations like Schell, Exxon and BP have been sending people to these talks themselves and through trade associations to lobby for weaker policy on climate for decades. Since 1995, there’s been more than 6,000 delegates including Schell and Exxon Mobil here at the talks.”

“We see that the US, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and the EU have repeatedly defended the involvement of the same polluting corporations that have known about and driven the climate crisis at these talks. This is completely absurd. It’s like trying to put out a fire by bringing in an arsonist. Unlike the past two years when countries stood unified and made the US stand on its own, this year we’re seeing Japan cave to the US and fossil fuel interests.”

Written by Hala Kilani, Senior Communications Officer, CAN

For follow up informations in Bonn, contact:

Dharini Parthasarathy, Senior Communications Officer, CAN / whatsapp +918826107830

About CAN

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 1100 NGOs in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More information on


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