Members of the G20 failed to reach an agreement on Saturday on the global phase-out of fossil fuels, after some countries moved to block specific proposals.

Talks broke down at the major economies meeting in India, exasperating climate scientists and activists as the world grapples with increasingly extreme weather events including severe heatwaves, weeks-long forest fires and flooding, from China to the US, in the Global South and across Europe. Member states account for more than three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Proposals to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030 resulted in state officials issuing only an outcome statement and a chair summary of the talks, instead of a joint communiqué, at the end of the four-day-long meeting in India’s coastal state of Goa. If states had reached a unanimous agreement on the concerns discussed, they would instead issue a joint communiqué.

“We had a complete agreement on 22 out of 29 paragraphs, and seven paragraphs constitute the Chair summary,” Indian Power Minister R K Singh said via Reuters.

The summary document states that some member countries had emphasised the need to cut back the use of fossil fuels without the use of carbon capture technology “in line with different national circumstances”. However, others “had different views on the matter”, wanting to focus on the capturing of emissions over hard-line reductions in fossil fuel, the Financial Times reported.

According to sources familiar with negotiations, Saudi Arabia led the push against fossil fuel phase-out and was backed by several other countries. Major fossil fuel-producers Russia, China, South Africa and Indonesia are all known to oppose the goal of tripling renewable capacity by the end of this decade.

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Alden Meyer, senior associate at the climate change consultancy E3G, said there were “sharp divisions on display” at the G20 meeting “around the need for a fair, fast and equitable transition away from fossil fuels”.

“With temperature records being set daily around the world and the impacts of climate change spiralling out of control, the world needed to hear a clarion call to action,” he added. “Instead, what we got was very weak tea.”

On the sidelines of earlier meetings last week, the US and India agreed to collaborate on increased investment in India’s energy transition industry. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman discussed their collaboration across a range of issues including “commercial and technological collaboration, strengthening supply chains and catalysing the clean energy transition”, according to a statement from Yellen.

At the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, in May, member states signed a final communiqué stating their commitment to “support[ing] the energy transition”, but failed to commit to decisive targets on fossil fuel phase-out. Opposition from host-country Japan and Germany on the phase out of coal and gas, respectively, hindered decisions on deadlines for phase-out.

Reluctancy by some major polluters to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and commit to rapid renewables uptake places increased pressure on the United Arab Emirates, host of COP28, to mediate global support for the energy transition.