The leaders of the G20 countries are meeting this weekend during what is likely to be the hottest year in human history, but hopes that the polarized gathering can agree on ambitious action to combat the crisis are slim.

Geopolitical tensions that have led Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to sit out the talks hint that the group is almost unlikely to even reach the usual final communique, much less firm climate commitments.

This creates a “potentially” catastrophic” failure on the part of those countries responsible for 80% of the world’s energy sector emissions, Amnesty International warned yesterday.

And that lowers expectations ahead of the crucial COP28 climate talks starting in November.

Three key climate issues will be on the negotiating table in New Delhi: a push to triple global renewable energy generation capacity by 2030, wean economies off fossil fuels — mainly coal — and finance the green transition in developing countries.

The path to organization suggests a difficult path forward for all three of these issues.

In July, G20 energy ministers failed to even mention coal in their final communiqué, let alone agree on a roadmap for a phase-down while no progress was made on the renewables target.

The communiqués issued are woefully inadequate“, the UN climate chief told AFP this week Simon Steele.

The background to the talks could not be worse: the European Copernicus Observatory this week announced that this year is likely to be the warmest in human history with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to emphasize that “the climate collapse has begun”.

Our climate is collapsing faster than we can cope with, with extreme weather events affecting all corners of the globe“, he warned.

This is evidenced by a series of phenomena with catastrophic floods, extreme heat and forest fires in almost the entire planet in recent months.

G20 countries account for 85% of global GDP and in a commensurate percentage of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide making it essential for progress to achieve the Forum’s goals.

But per capita carbon emissions have risen since 2015 in G20 countries, a study revealed this week, despite transition efforts by some member countries.

The 9% increase was largely driven by increases in countries including host country India, Indonesia and China.

Dependence on coal along with geopolitical rifts over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and conflicts with Beijing will make an agreement on reduction difficult.

Another point of friction is likely to be the financing of the green transition.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has sought to position himself as the voice of the “Global South”, insisted ahead of the summit that climate ambitions “must be coupled with action on climate finance and technology transfer”.

Rich nations have already failed to meet their pledge to provide $100 billion a year in climate finance to poorer countries by 2020.

Amnesty International urged the developed world to “deliver and significantly increase” this funding, warning of the “potentially disastrous” consequences of inaction at the G20.

And African nations this week called for $600 billion in renewable energy investment paid for in part by a global carbon tax.

They also want debt relief and restructuring, as well as the rapid implementation of a “loss and damage” fund for climate-vulnerable countries.

A bright spot in the talks could be a push for renewable energywith draft documents reportedly containing a commitment to push for a global tripling of capacity by 2030.