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More than a dozen major Indian companies led by industrial conglomerate and steelmaker JSW Group, manufacturer Godrej and Boyce and tech group Infosys have written to G20 leaders to push for an end to fossil fuels use without emissions captured, support for green vehicles and clean power.
G20 leaders are due to gather in New Delhi in 10 days, led by the Indian presidency, following recent climate and energy minister meetings where the world’s biggest economies failed to agree on critical climate change issues including renewable energy goals and phasing out fossil fuels.
In an open letter, the 14 companies including some major polluters alongside tech group Zomato and clean power producer Renew, called for “ambitious and enhanced co-operation towards climate action”, as the effects of climate change “have become more unforgiving and evident than ever before”.
“The right policy signals from the G20 can drive greater investments and enable companies around the world to go all-in for climate action in support of more robust, equitable, and resilient economies, fostering prosperity, generating decent jobs, and safeguarding both public health and the environment,” they wrote.
The businesses said the G20 needed to set “credible targets and consistent policies” that are aligned with efforts to keep the global temperature rise to 1.5C since pre-industrial times. The G20 economies produce more than 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The letter calls for a raft of policies that are more ambitious than what India and other G20 countries have previously set out, including a faster rollout of clean energy to fully decarbonise power grids in advanced economies by 2035 and by 2040 in other countries.
It asks also for national plans for sectors that will struggle to fully cut greenhouse gas emissions and support for zero-emissions vehicles, as well as targets and timelines set at a country level to phase out all fossil fuels where emissions are not captured, supported by policies to ensure a “just transition for affected workers and communities”.
Divya Sharma, executive director of India at Climate Group, the international non-profit group that helped co-ordinate the letter, said it was “encouraging to see some of India’s biggest businesses calling on world leaders to ensure that this G20 truly becomes a turning point for climate action. G20 leaders can’t afford to ignore them.”
Industrial groups such as JSW, which makes steel, power and cement, are themselves among India’s largest polluters. While several of JSW’s companies have made their own net zero commitments by 2030 or 2050, the group has not ruled out building new coal plants.
The businesses said in the letter that they were committed to making investments in “long-term, transformative decarbonisation”.
“While many solutions are developing, the urgency of the moment cannot be overstated. Collectively, within the right policy environment and ambitious leadership of the G20, we can go further, much faster,” the letter says.
Several people familiar with the G20 climate ministers meeting last month said China had used “wrecking tactics” to obstruct talks, held against the backdrop of heightened international tensions. Negotiations between energy ministers also ended in discord the week before, with Saudi Arabia accused of leading efforts to block a deal to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
Additional reporting by Chloe Cornish in Mumbai