The Brazilian presidency of the G20 and the search for a sustainable future.
Today, December 1st, Brazil began its term as president of the G20, the influential group that brings together the nineteen main global economies, in addition to the European Union and the African Union. This period of leadership, which will last until November 30, 2024, marks the first time that the country has held such a position. During this year, Brazil’s priority focus is to promote the transition to sustainable energy, drive changes in global governance and redouble efforts to combat inequality and hunger.
Brazil’s presidency of the G20 in 2023, under the theme “Building a fair world and a sustainable planet”, highlights the importance of collective action in the fight against the climate crisis. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) warn of the urgency of accelerating global efforts to avoid catastrophic consequences. COP28 in Dubai highlights this critical need.
The economic and human harms of climate inaction are alarming. In 2022, economic losses of more than US$313 billion were reported, with the possibility of millions of Brazilians facing extreme poverty by 2030 due to climate shocks, according to the World Bank. The transition to carbon-neutral economies by 2030 requires significant investment, especially in emerging economies, which currently receive less than 27% of the necessary funds.
G20 countries are vital in this scenario, accounting for around 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of global GDP. The G20 has evolved to include climate change on its agenda, paving the way for concrete action in areas such as energy, agriculture and finance. Initiatives such as the G20 Sherpa and Finance Tracks provide platforms for significant advances in sustainability and climate finance.
As leader of the G20, Brazil has the opportunity to drive ambitious policies, investments and innovations that address the climate crisis and sustainable development. Brazil’s position is unique, given its wealth in natural resources and institutional capacity, placing it as a potential protagonist in climate solutions.
The G20 agenda under Brazilian leadership must focus on synergy and effectiveness between the different working groups, encouraging positive actions and monitoring progress in investments for the climate transition. Expanding sustainable finance in developing countries and international cooperation are essential to tackling the global climate crisis.
The advances of the G20 in Brazil must be reflected in a clear vision and an implementation path until 2025, coinciding with South Africa’s G20 presidency and COP30 in Brazil. This crucial period requires pragmatic and active leadership, placing the future and sustainability at the center of the Brazilian and global political agenda.
This historic moment for Brazil at the G20 represents a unique chance to shape the global climate agenda, with lasting repercussions. Brazilian leadership can catalyze robust commitments and concrete actions from member countries for an effective and inclusive green transition.
Brazil’s role is crucial in promoting international solidarity, especially in supporting the most vulnerable countries. By aligning the G20 objectives with those of the Paris Agreement, Brazil can promote strategies that balance economic development and environmental protection. This includes promoting low-carbon technologies, renewable energy and sustainable agricultural practices. IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) suggests that investments in renewable energy can generate three times more jobs than fossil fuels, representing an opportunity for sustainable economic growth.
Furthermore, effective debt management and the creation of innovative financial instruments, such as debt-for-climate swaps, can offer solutions to the financial challenges many countries face as they seek to transition to a green economy. Reforming multilateral development banks, as discussed in the G20 finance tracks, is critical to increasing access to climate finance.
Brazil must also emphasize the importance of climate adaptation measures, particularly for vulnerable communities, and promote climate resilience. This includes investments in sustainable infrastructure and conservation projects that can protect against extreme weather events, which are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change.
Global environmental governance requires a holistic approach that Brazil, with its biodiversity and sustainability expertise, is well positioned to lead. Promoting environmentally sustainable policies and practices within the G20 can serve as a model for other regions and for future international collaborations.
Finally, Brazil’s success in the G20 presidency will be measured not only by the commitments made, but by the effective implementation of these commitments. Brazil’s COP30 presidency in 2025 will provide a platform to demonstrate the progress made and to continue driving the global climate agenda.
In short, Brazil’s presidency of the G20 is a strategic opportunity to lead the global transformation towards a more sustainable and fair future. By acting decisively, Brazil can help shape a lasting legacy for the climate, economy and society globally.