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Multilateral approaches to nitrogen pollution are generating synergies between climate change and food security and presenting opportunities to reduce nitrous oxide (N2O) globally. N2O is the most abundant ozone-depleting substance not yet regulated by the Montreal Protocol and a powerful greenhouse gas. Failure to reduce emissions will delay ozone layer recovery and worsen the climate crisis. While cost-effective mitigation technologies to reduce N2O emissions are available, policies and incentives to encourage the uptake of such measures are lacking. The G20, whose membership includes the world’s largest food exporters and fertilizer consumers, is positioned to advance N2O mitigation by supporting coordinated multilateral action. G20 leadership on N2O can support food security by preventing drastic impacts of climate change on food production and safeguarding the ozone layer, which protects agriculture and biodiversity from harmful ultraviolet B radiation. It can also support the achievement of countries’ net-zero climate goals and nationally determined contributions.

Heating and cooling demand for space conditioning and refrigeration accounts for around a fifth of global final energy consumption. Climate change, urbanization, and economic development have tripled electricity demand for cooling alone since the 1990s, with the majority coming from the use of inefficient cooling equipment, which burdens electricity grids, especially during peak hours. It is imperative to address the energy required to provide cooling. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol addresses these needs by setting ambitious global targets to phase down refrigerants with high global warming potential while improving energy efficiency. Integrating energy efficiency and the refrigerant transition will contribute to economic security, well-being, energy access and security, and sustainability among the G20 countries.

Cities are responsible for over 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 75 percent of primary energy consumption. By 2050, over two-thirds of the world population will live in cities, resulting in even greater infrastructure needs and increased carbon emissions. Yet, cities largely remain on the sidelines in the design of national and international green transition policies. Cities can combine policy, practice, and participation by leveraging innovation, technology, and partnerships while transforming local governance models. There is a need for the G20 leaders to recognize and support the role of cities in accelerating climate action toward net zero and limiting warming to 1.5 °C. This Policy Brief suggests policy recommendations informed by current trends, Urban20 (U20) engagement group priorities, and previous communications by G20 countries to address the barriers that cities face in implementing effective climate action towards net zero. These recommendations emphasize on themes around empowering cities; building technical, institutional, and financial capacities of cities; facilitating climate finance; and enabling multi-stakeholder participation for achieving integrated urban climate action.

Each year, one-third of the total food for human consumption is either lost or wasted even as millions worldwide experience food insecurity. Similarly, over 25 percent of vaccines are wasted each year while millions die from vaccine-preventable illnesses Sustainable cold chain infrastructure can significantly reduce post-harvest food loss and vaccine wastage and deliver social and climate benefits. However, acknowledging the need for cold storage alone does not ensure food security or access to vaccines, and must be supported by policies and resources, including technologies. Cooperation among G20 countries on cold chains can help coordinate the policies and resources necessary to advance food security, public health, and climate change mitigation.

Despite three decades of political efforts and a wealth of research on the causes and catastrophic impacts of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions have continued to rise and are 60% higher today than they were in 1990. Exploring this rise through nine thematic lenses—covering issues of climate governance, the fossil fuel industry, geopolitics, economics, mitigation modeling, energy systems, inequity, lifestyles, and social imaginaries—draws out multifaceted reasons for our collective failure to bend the global emissions curve. However, a common thread that emerges across the reviewed literature is the central role of power, manifest in many forms, from a dogmatic political-economic hegemony and influential vested interests to narrow techno-economic mindsets and ideologies of control. Synthesizing the various impediments to mitigation reveals how delivering on the commitments enshrined in the Paris Agreement now requires an urgent and unprecedented transformation away from today’s carbon- and energy-intensive development paradigm.