China denies obstructing G20 climate negotiations

BEIJING (AFP): China denied on Wednesday reports that it had obstructed climate discussions between G20 environment ministers last week, saying it was “regrettable” they had failed to reach an agreement.

Last week’s negotiations in India – held ahead of this year’s COP28 climate talks in Dubai – failed to reach a consensus on tripling renewable energy use.

French ecological transition minister Christophe Bechu told AFP that discussions with China, Saudi Arabia and Russia had been “complicated”.

And one source told the Financial Times that China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, used “wrecking tactics” to block debate.

But Beijing on Wednesday hit back, with its foreign ministry insisting “relevant reports totally run counter to the facts”.

The meeting “achieved (a) positive and balanced outcome”, the ministry said in a statement attributed to an unnamed spokesperson.

“However, some countries introduced geopolitical issues as an obstruction and the meeting failed to adopt a communique. China finds it regrettable,” the statement said without elaborating.

The Chennai meeting came days after energy ministers from the group – which represents more than 80 percent of global GDP and CO2 emissions – failed to agree on a roadmap to cut fossil fuels from the global energy mix during talks in Goa.

That was seen as a blow to mitigation efforts, even as climate experts blame record global temperatures for exacerbating floods, storms and heatwaves.

Major oil producers fear the impact of drastic mitigation on their economies, and Russia and Saudi Arabia were blamed for the lack of progress in Goa.