G20 Conference

G20: Coal Should be Phased Down “in line with national circumstances”

Essay by Eric Worrall

In response to UN calls for the urgent elimination of coal, the G20 has responded with a commitment to keep coal as long as needed, and to pursue nuclear energy with the same urgency as renewables.

Implementing Clean, Sustainable, Just, Affordable & Inclusive Energy Transitions

38. We commit to accelerating clean, sustainable, just, affordable and inclusive energy transitions following various pathways, as a means of enabling strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth and achieve our climate objectives. We recognise the needs, vulnerabilities, priorities and different national circumstances of developing countries. We support strong international and national enabling environments to foster innovation, voluntary and mutually agreed technology transfer, and access to low-cost financing. To this end, we:

  1. Emphasise the importance of maintaining uninterrupted flows of energy from various sources, suppliers and routes, exploring paths of enhanced energy security and market stability, including through inclusive investments to meet the growing energy demand, in line with our sustainable development and climate goals, while promoting open, competitive, non-discriminatory and free international energy markets.
  2. Recognizing that developing countries need to be supported in their transitions to low carbon/emissions, we will work towards facilitating low-cost financing for them.
  3. Support the acceleration of production, utilization, as well as the development of transparent and resilient global markets for hydrogen produced from zero and low-emission technologies and its derivatives such as ammonia, by developing voluntary and mutually agreed harmonising standards as well as mutually recognised and inter-operable certification schemes. To realise this, we affirm the ‘G20 High Level Voluntary Principles on Hydrogen’, to build a sustainable and equitable global hydrogen ecosystem that benefits all nations. We take note of the Presidency’s initiative to establish the Green Hydrogen Innovation Centre steered by the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  4. Will work towards facilitating access to low-cost financing for developing countries, for existing as well as new and emerging clean and sustainable energy technologies and for supporting the energy transitions. We note the report on “Low-cost Financing for the Energy Transitions” prepared under the Indian Presidency and its estimation that the world needs an annual investment of over USD 4 trillion, with a high share of renewable energy in the primary energy mix.
  5. Will pursue and encourage efforts to triple renewable energy capacity globally through existing targets and policies, as well as demonstrate similar ambition with respect to other zero and low-emission technologies, including abatement and removal technologies, in line with national circumstances by 2030. We also note the ‘Voluntary Action Plan for Promoting Renewable Energy to Accelerate Universal Energy Access’.
  6. Pledge to advance cooperation initiatives to develop, demonstrate and deploy clean and sustainable energy technologies and solutions and other efforts for innovation.
  7. Take note of the ‘Voluntary Action Plan on Doubling the Rate of Energy Efficiency Improvement by 2030’.
  8. Recognize the importance of sustainable biofuels in our zero and low- emission development strategies, and note the setting up of a Global Biofuels Alliance.
  9. Support reliable, diversified, sustainable and responsible supply chains for energy transitions, including for critical minerals and materials beneficiated at source, semiconductors and technologies. We take note of the Presidency’s “Voluntary High- Level Principles for Collaboration on Critical Minerals for Energy Transitions”.
  10. xi. Recognize the role of grid interconnections, resilient energy infrastructure and regional/cross-border power systems integration, where applicable in enhancing energy security, fostering economic growth and facilitating universal energy access for all.
  11. x. For countries that opt to use civil nuclear energy, will collaborate on voluntary and
  12. mutually agreed terms, in research, innovation, development & deployment of civil nuclear technologies including advanced and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), in accordance with national legislations. These countries will promote responsible nuclear decommissioning, radioactive waste and spent fuel management and mobilizing investments, and share knowledge and best practices, through strengthening international cooperation to promote nuclear safety globally.
  13. Will increase our efforts to implement the commitment made in 2009 in Pittsburgh to phase-out and rationalise, over the medium term, inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and commit to achieve this objective, while providing targeted support for the poorest and the most vulnerable.
  14. Recognise the importance to accelerate the development, deployment and dissemination of technologies, and the adoption of policies, to transition towards low-emission energy systems, including by rapidly scaling up the deployment of clean power generation, including renewable energy, as well as energy efficiency measures, including accelerating efforts towards phasedown of unabated coal power, in line with national circumstances and recognizing the need for support towards just transitions.

Read more: https://www.g20.org/content/dam/gtwenty/gtwenty_new/document/G20-New-Delhi-Leaders-Declaration.pdf

Good news for nuclear – modular reactors, explicitly mentioned in the text, are clearly one of the “other zero and low-emission technologies” to be pursued, with similar ambition to renewables.

Coal to be phased out “in line with national circumstances” – so as an when alternatives become available.

Not a good day for the renewables industry – in addition to promoting the role of small modular nuclear reactors, the statement emphasises the need for “resilient energy infrastructure”, in my opinion likely a veiled rebuke at Western pressure for developing nations to embrace intermittent, unreliable and unaffordable renewable energy technologies, which clearly are not ready or fit for purpose.

The document also makes mention of climate change and climate finance elsewhere, in sections I didn’t quote.

My overall impression is the document is a commitment to business as usual, with a little woke window dressing. The document is yet another strong indication that developing countries prize economic growth above the Western obsession with CO2 emissions, and are increasingly unafraid to say so.

Click here for more information on the economic obstacles to achieving Net Zero.

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September 11, 2023 10:48 am

“phasedown of unabated coal power” – so abated coal power is fine? 🤔

Reply to  PCman999
September 11, 2023 11:47 am

Yes, coal with carbon capture is OK.
Of course there is no realistic prospect of it ever working at sufficient scale.

Richard Page
Reply to  MrGrimNasty
September 11, 2023 3:53 pm

Translation; “Yes we’ll pay lip service to your climate change silliness while we carry on using whatever we want to on the understanding that you pay us a few trillion to do so!”

September 11, 2023 11:03 am

The highest priority these worthies have is to keep their underserved positions.

Frank from NoVA
September 11, 2023 11:06 am

‘My overall impression is the document is a commitment to business as usual, with a little woke window dressing. The document is yet another strong indication that developing countries prize economic growth above the Western obsession with CO2 emissions, and are increasingly unafraid to say so.’

Sounds right. Unfortunately, for those of us in the West, ‘a little woke window dressing’ is all the authorization our so-called elites need to justify a forced march to full-blown socialism.

Mumbles McGuirck
September 11, 2023 11:09 am

Is the photo at the top from the actual G20 Summit? It reminds me of that scene in ‘Dr. Strangelove’.
“Gentlemen, please, there’s no fighting in the War Room!”

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
September 12, 2023 5:35 am

Dr Strangelove remains near the top of my choice of 10 Top Movies. ever.
It has some overcooked schemes like riding the missile down, but there are some well-thought and devilish funny scenes. The list of contents of the emergency survival pack is hilarious.Geoff S

Tom Abbott
Reply to  sherro01
September 12, 2023 5:45 am

I loved ole Slim riding that nuclear bomb to the ground. What else can a guy do under the circumstances? Slim was making lemonaide.

Mumbles McGuirck
September 11, 2023 11:15 am

We commit to accelerating clean, sustainable, just, affordable and inclusive energy transitions following various pathways, as a means of enabling strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth and achieve our climate objectives.

What utter gobblygook. As if there is no conflict between ‘clean, sustainable, just, affordable and inclusive energy transitions’ or between ‘strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth’. Just throw everything into the box and we’ll sort through it later.

Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
September 11, 2023 4:34 pm

What do you suppose “inclusive growth” and “inclusive energy transitions” are? All managed by the LGBTQ+ folks?

September 11, 2023 11:24 am

I gagged on the repetitive use of woke terminology ( clean, sustainable, just, affordable, inclusive, non-discriminatory, free, transparent, … ). This alone guarantees that any valid action toward reliable and economical energy of any kind (forget climate) will be tied up in knots over politically correct assessments followed by interminable lawsuits by advocacy groups.

A 14 point “program” is also too awkward and diffuse to produce meaningful action. Some of the points even appear in opposition to one another, and of course advanced nations are expected to just give away their technology.

Finally, why would we believe for a second that this odd collection of nations (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom and United States), many of whom are mortal enemies and with disparate views on climate, would do anything cohesively?

Reply to  pflashgordon
September 11, 2023 1:57 pm

clean, sustainable, just, affordable, inclusive, non-discriminatory, free, transparent, … )”

Wind and solar are NONE of these things. !!

It doesnot add up
Reply to  pflashgordon
September 11, 2023 3:41 pm

Who was actually there? Not Putin or Xi.

Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 12, 2023 12:09 am


Tom Abbott
Reply to  It doesnot add up
September 12, 2023 5:47 am

Putin would get arrested if he went.

Reply to  pflashgordon
September 12, 2023 5:41 am

Do you not get the impression that the wording is designed to convey that the writers are all things to all people? Throw in all the groups and acts you can think of so every reader sees he or she is referenced, not neglected, so these writers are good, thoughtful guys?
The reality is that this group intends to do whatever suits it, with lip service to those with other views. Just typical PR from the wealth and power set.
Geoff S

Richard Page
September 11, 2023 11:37 am

This really serves as a case in point to show that the UN has outlived its usefulness; it’s duplicating effort and a sheer waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere. Has anyone actually looked at how much the world spends on bureaucratic institutions as a percentage of gdp? I expect the answer would be horrific.

September 11, 2023 11:53 am

This is better news than we hear from other quarters but still sounds like mindless mush to me. I would be more impressed if they demanded that the CAGW crowd prove with proper scientific methods that man’s emissions of CO2 are going to cause a catastrophic change in our climate by causing irreversible overheating. Of course all work must be public and reproducible. If it isn’t the default program for all governments is to immediately stop all efforts to transition to wind, solar and battery. All future money and efforts should be to make fossil fuel and nuclear as clean, safe, affordable and reliable as is reasonably possible. In addition the grid must be updated and strengthened and any action that interferes with it’s operation or reliability must be met with severe punishment. Last but not least they need to communicate clearly and simply and forget all that academic/political mishmash.

September 11, 2023 12:03 pm

Whatever the agreed verbiage, Parliament passed a law….

It’s on the statute book

September 11, 2023 12:07 pm

Gee, ya think that China’s membership in the G20 had anything to do with this press release?

Peta of Newark
September 11, 2023 12:10 pm

quote:Coal Should be Phased Down “in line with blah blah word salad”
In an idle moment, after having come across A Number, I set out to do sum sums.
<invariably fatal>

The Number I came upon was the TeraWattGigaHoursPerYear consumption of Energy that was/is produced from Biomass
It was in ExaJoules – I thought only the ocean had them.

Anyway I worked it backwards and got one of those satisfying and really rather sweet coincidences

It linked to the Keeling Curve = where atmospheric CO₂ is rising at about 2.x ppm per year

It was that if all Biomass burning ceased, that ‘Keeling Number’ would = Zero ppm per year

I got that Biomass,
…..assuming you get 5kWh per kilo of ‘stuff’
…..taking the Drax figure of about 1,000kg CO₂ per MWh
equates to the amount of CO₂ that would raise the atmosphere by 2.24ppm

neat huh

The Biomass, having not been burned, could be put to ‘some use
e.g. Where Burning Man went wrong was that there was/is no ‘biomass’ in the dirt there and THAT is why they got stuck

It would also store water in the ground/soil/dirt/farms/fields/gardens/parks and when there, might be used by plants and or evaporate, cooling said places. Also it might make clouds & rain and trash the UHI effect

And Heat Domes, just on the off-chance one came calling….

Rud Istvan
September 11, 2023 12:24 pm

Figured G20 would be a waste of time. This proves it.

September 11, 2023 12:44 pm

In the bit about hydrogen, they forgot this –

(xv) and then a miracle happens . . .

September 11, 2023 12:54 pm

A sensible statement. The G20 seems a lot smarter than the UN.
I think it’s because the UN is unduly influenced by micronations seeking handouts – one nation, one vote doesn’t make sense in a world where some countries have 1.3 billion people and others have to count tourists to reach 10 thousand.

September 11, 2023 1:00 pm

It all comes down to finance. So long as the world bank refuses to finance coal energy for the third world, China will advance.

September 11, 2023 1:43 pm

The Indian footprint is all over the G20 statement
India reinforces the opinions of the African and South American nations

BRISC+6, soon BRISC+12, includes two nuclear superpowers and two fossil superpowers

The BRISC folks have no intention of following the EU/US into the renewables money pit, with the EU/EU owning the technologies and infrastructures

The BRISC folks want to GROW their GDPs with abundant, good-old-reliable, low-cost fossil

China gets about 52% of all its energy from coal, or 82% from fossil
The U.S. gets about 15% of all is energy from coal, or 80% from fossil

Reply to  wilpost
September 11, 2023 1:45 pm

The edit button is AWOL

Richard Page
Reply to  Eric Worrall
September 11, 2023 2:02 pm

Yup. You can tell it was a popular function for us ham-fisted lot!

Reply to  Richard Page
September 11, 2023 4:00 pm

Isn’t it strange.

You type out a post, re-read it.. all looks ok..

But the second you hit the “post comment” button, you immediately notice 3 or 4 typos or wrong wording.

And come back a minute later, there are even more of them. !

Reply to  wilpost
September 11, 2023 2:51 pm

Addition comment

While the US and EU are Wasting $TRILLIONS on Expensive Unicorn Energy, China is Boosting Domestic Coal Output and Imports

MARCH 22, 2022

By Paul Homewood

China plans a massive increase in coal mining, a move that will reduce its reliance on imports from hostile countries, such as Australia and the US.

China will increase its coal and gas imports from friendly countries, such as Russia

China’s measures likely will postpone some climate actions. 

China’s measures would completely offset any highly subsidized U.S. wind and solar build-outs that produce electricity at about 3 times the price of electricity from coal


The National Development and Reform Commission, the nation’s top economic planner, told officials from major mining regions at a meeting late last week that it wants to boost domestic production capacity by about 300 million tons, according to people familiar with the matter. It also plans to build a 620 million-ton stockpile of the fuel split between government, miners and users.

Such an increase in output would cut the country’s already scant dependence on foreign imports after global prices hit record levels in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The measures also highlight concerns that China’s reliance on fossil fuels remains as entrenched as ever, as it seeks to enhance energy security to limit disruptions to economic growth, regardless of the impact on its climate goals.

It’s hard to overstate the importance to China of coal, the most-polluting fossil fuel. The nation produces and consumes more than half of global supply, and it’s the biggest contributor to its world-leading greenhouse gas emissions.

China has said that coal consumption should begin to fall off in the second half of this decade as it strives to peak emissions across the economy by 2030.

The production increase would be split, with 150 million tons of capacity coming from new, upgraded operations and another 150 million from open-pit mines and some mines that had previously been shut.

Daily output should average 12.6 million tons, according to the NDRC, which is even higher than the record-breaking levels reached in the fall after shortages caused widespread industrial brownouts.

The NDRC didn’t give a timeline for the ramp-up, but if last year’s all-out push on production is anything to go by, it could happen relatively quickly.

The added 300 million tons of capacity is equivalent to China’s typical annual imports. The nation produced over 4 billion tons of its own coal last year.
Add in China’s recently agreed deal to import 100 million tonnes of coal a year from Russia, and it is clear that they have no intention of cutting back on coal consumption, anytime soon.

Just in case you did not know,

The coal will be burned in ULTRA-SUPER-CRITICAL new coal plants, that are about 44% efficient, with the latest air cleaning technology (as good as the best in Europe, Japan, and the US), and are, as a result, at least 100 times CLEANER than retiring old coal plants, that are about 25% efficient, with poor air cleaning technology.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  wilpost
September 12, 2023 5:51 am

There’s a good guide to modern coal plants in these four posts by Anton Long


Links to the other parts included.

Reply to  Dave Andrews
September 13, 2023 6:20 pm

Dave, Thank you for these articles.
I have added them to my China Coal article

Tom Abbott
Reply to  wilpost
September 12, 2023 5:55 am

Did the Chicoms invent their own scrubbing technology, or did they just steal it from Europe, Japan and the US?

Reply to  Tom Abbott
September 12, 2023 2:40 pm

The best technology is fabric filter systems. They catch more of the sub- micron particles, which are most harmful to health.
Electrostatic precipitators catch only the larger of the sub-micron particles

I used to work for a company that designed both, plus cyclonic separators, and incinerators, back in the 1970s

Reply to  Tom Abbott
September 13, 2023 6:24 pm

Scrubbers are necessary only for high sulfur coal.
Wyoming coal is very low sulfur, costs more, but you avoid the scrubber miseries

September 11, 2023 1:53 pm

Their first highlighted point starts: “Emphasise the importance of maintaining uninterrupted flows of energy“. Doesn’t sound like support for wind and solar. Does sound like developing countries are fighting back. It also indicates that the overriding G20 priority is keeping control of the narrative.

Richard Page
Reply to  Mike Jonas
September 11, 2023 2:06 pm

I would suggest that some of the countries are being very careful – taking a slightly stronger stance in the G20 whilst maintaining a hands out pose for money in the COP fest is not easy and should only be attempted by trained political contortionists!

Edward Katz
September 11, 2023 2:08 pm

If these countries actually go through with such pledges, they will show that energy security is really at the top of their priority list. Hopefully they won’t succumb to any of the howls of outrage from the promoters of wind and solar and from all the environmental extremists who are consistently opposed to fossil fuels and nuclear regardless of how dire energy shortfalls might be.

September 11, 2023 3:56 pm

Australia’s “national circumstances” DEMAND that we quickly build some new coal fired power stations and allow them to operate at maximum efficiency.

Reply to  bnice2000
September 11, 2023 4:13 pm

Agreed, but there is not much chance of that. It’s just a matter of time however that Albo finally admits that nuclear energy must be brought into the mix. That is of course if his third brain cell makes an appearance.

September 11, 2023 4:05 pm

pursue nuclear energy with the same urgency as renewables.”

Anthony Albanese is very late to the party but he cannot avoid it forever. If he want to reduce emissions he has little choice. Oh how I look forward to the day he relents.

September 11, 2023 5:21 pm

For me, the G20 meeting was better than expected. First this, “My overall impression is the document is a commitment to business as usual, with a little woke window dressing. The document is yet another strong indication that developing countries prize economic growth above the Western obsession with CO2 emissions, and are increasingly unafraid to say so.”

Simply stated, everyone ignored the woke twit Justrin Trudeau who pretends to be PM of Canada. Not only was he ignored, but he was stranded at the party because his airplane broke and he and his assorted hangers-on were stranded in New Delhi for an extra two days. And the positive reference to coal “in line with national circumstances” gives a massive hobnailed boot to Justatwit and his vile Minister of the Environment Steven (I’m a Greenpeace convicted criminal) Guilbeault.

September 11, 2023 5:40 pm

Just let them walk around the block in Canada in their swimming outfits in February and they may realize how cold it is. Everybody outside of the tropics has to wear warm clothes, live in warmed house, use warmed transportation and work in warmed buildings most of the year.

Reply to  scvblwxq
September 11, 2023 5:40 pm


Joseph Zorzin
September 12, 2023 3:32 am

“Read more: https://www.g20.org/content/dam/gtwenty/gtwenty_new/document/G20-New-Delhi-Leaders-Declaration.pdf

I downloaded that. It’s kinda like the verbiage we see quoted above by Eric only 10 times as much.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 12, 2023 5:55 am

But did you manage to get to the end? 🙂

michael hart
September 12, 2023 8:26 am

The statement as described has got “India” written all over it.
Quite rightly so, and no surprise, given they were the hosts.

Andy Pattullo
September 13, 2023 10:26 am

Coal has nothing to worry about in the near future, and the demand curves support that. Nor should any of us be seeking a rapid move away from coal. We can deploy facilities designed to deal with any real pollution from coal burning and eventually, the world will realize there are no down sides to the CO2 emissions (not a pollutant) – all that we can measure to date is positive.

I too am a big fan of nuclear powers future renaissance.

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