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Insights into Editorial: Time for action: On the G20 summit and the global political economy




At their first in-person meeting in two years, leaders of the G20 did not shy away from re-engaging with the biggest issues facing the global community today, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, a major tax agreement, and steps to address concerns regarding global economic growth and stability.


Regarding G-20:

The G20 is an informal group of 19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The G20 membership comprises a mix of the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies, representing about two-thirds of the world’s population, 85% of global gross domestic product, 80% of global investment and over 75% of global trade.

The members of the G20 are 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.

It does not have any permanent secretariat or headquarters.


Issues that discussed:

  1. On coordinated efforts to mitigate the pandemic, the focus was on vaccine production and distribution, with assurances of support to WHO’s target of inoculating 40% or more of the global population against COVID-19 by 2021, and at least 70% by mid-2022.
  2. The implicit assumption in this commitment by G20 leaders is that initiatives to boost the supply of vaccines in developing countries will succeed, and cooperation will help the world overcome supply and financing constraints.
  3. On climate change, the Group leaders recommitted their nations to providing $100 billion a year toward adaptation, mitigation, and green technologies, focusing on the needs of developing countries.
  4. Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to have scored a victory in this regard as the post-summit communiqué commits the G20 to limiting global warming to 1.5° C and identified sustainable and responsible consumption and production as “critical enablers”.


India will achieve net zero emissions by 2070, says PM Modi:

  1. India will achieve net zero emissions latest by 2070, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
  2. Until this meet, India was the only major emitter that hadn’t committed to a timeline to achieve net zero, or a year by which it would ensure its net carbon dioxide emissions would be zero.
  3. By 2030 India will ensure 50% of its energy will be sourced from renewable energy sources. India will reduce its carbon emissions until 2030 by a billion tonnes.
  4. India will also reduce its emissions intensity per unit of GDP by less than 45%. India would also install 500 Gigawatt of renewable energy by 2030, a 50 gw increase from its existing targets, Prime Minister said.
  5. In the spirit of climate justice, rich developed countries ought to be providing at least $1 trillion in climate finance to assist developing countries and those most vulnerable.
  6. In contrast to India’s run-up to the COP where it had strongly resisted demands by developed countries to take on net zero targets.
  7. Several delegations from the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union had called upon Indian officials in previous weeks to coax such a agreement out of India.
  8. Achieving net zero by 2050, scientists say, is the world’s best shot at keeping temperatures from rising above 1.5C of Pre Industrial levels.


Critical issues that need to be implement:

  1. An immediate leap into net zero may yet be avoided, and a core message at Glasgow would be that rich countries are yet to deliver on the promised $100 billion a year from 2020 to help poor nations adapt to climate change; but India’s case can be strengthened only with a clear plan for a multi-sectoral energy transition.
  2. There is little evidence, for instance, that the indirect carbon tax in the form of very high levies on automotive fuels has been earmarked for a big green push through affordable electric mobility, or even a financial dividend to all citizens to mitigate inflationary price effects on essential consumption.
  3. As national scientific advisers have argued in a joint statement on the eve of the UN climate conference and to which India’s Principal Scientific Adviser is a signatory, it is essential for governments to draw up precise technological, socio-economic, and financial policies and requirements to demonstrate a commitment to the 1.5°C goal.
  4. The country must seize the moment and present convincing plans that will be rolled out in the present decade in order to attract climate finance, even while buttressing the argument for a medium-term window to taper down carbon emissions.
  5. If severe floods, droughts and more frequent storms erode the assets of citizens, governments of the future will have to pay for lack of foresight today.


Adaptation strategy by India:

  1. The difference between climate change mitigation strategies and climate change adaptation is that mitigation is aimed at tackling the causes and minimising the possible impacts of climate change, whereas adaptation looks at how to reduce the negative effects it has and how to take advantage of any opportunities that arise.
  2. Where mitigation strategies fail to reach emissions containment targets, climate resilience will be key to lessen the impacts of climate change and pave the way for our survival, along with the rest of the Earth’s inhabitants.
  3. We must make adaptation a core part of our development policies and projects. Various projects in India such as ‘Nal se Jal’, Clean Ujjawala, and Clean India Mission have not only offered adaptation benefits to our citizens in need but have also enhanced their quality of life.



The G20 meeting has come at a critical moment for the global political economy. If it results in timely, effective, coordinated action across major nations, hope for recovery will remain afloat.

India has clearly put the ball in the court of the developed world. This is real climate action.

Now, India demands $1 trillion of climate finance as soon as possible and will monitor not just climate action, but deliver climate finance.

Most importantly, India has called, once again, for a change in lifestyles. If we cannot fix how we live, we cannot fix how we live on this planet