India has blocked G20 efforts to pave the way for an ambitious climate change accord in a sign of deep divisions just two weeks before delegates from almost 200 nations meet in Paris.
Through almost 20 hours of talks at the G20 gathering in Turkey officials struggled to bridge a political chasm even over language suggesting a common problem required a collective solution.
A senior EU official at the meeting of world leaders in Antalya said: “At certain times I was feeling that we’re not living on the same planet.”
Most significantly India and Saudi Arabia opposed the inclusion of a reference in the G20 statement to the need to discuss a “review mechanism” that the EU and many economies say must be a central feature of the accord. The accord is supposed to require all countries to volunteer pledges to cut their greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 or take other measures to tackle climate change.
The EU and others say it must also contain measures requiring assessment every five years of commitments made by signatories and upgrade them if progress is deemed insufficient.
India said it did not want the G20 to interfere in the Paris talks and blocked even a general reference to discussions on “periodic monitoring”.
If other big economies follow suit, the weakening of the final accord would raise doubts about the UN’s ability to do anything to combat climate change.