ROME: G20 leaders sit down for a second day of talks on Sunday facing the difficult task of settling their differences over how to combat global warming ahead of a crucial United Nations summit on climate change.
The first day of the Rome summit – the first face-to-face meeting of leaders since the start of the COVID pandemic – focused primarily on health and the economy, while climate and the environment were high on the agenda on Sunday.
Climate scientists and activists are likely to be disappointed unless belated breakthroughs are made, as drafts of the G20 final statement show little progress on new commitments to curb pollution.
The G-20 bloc, which includes Brazil, China, India, Germany and the United States, accounts for an estimated 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say must be sharply reduced to avoid climate catastrophe.
For this reason, this weekend’s meeting is seen as an important starting point for the UN “COP26” climate summit attended by nearly 200 countries, in Glasgow, Scotland, where most of the G20 leaders will fly directly from Rome.
Oscar Surya of the activist network Avaaz said: “Recent reports are disappointing, with little sense of urgency in the face of an existential emergency. There is no more time for vague wish lists, we need commitments and concrete actions.”
The fifth draft of the G20 final statement seen by Reuters on Saturday did not toughen language on climate action compared to previous versions, and in some key areas, such as the need to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, it softened it.
This mid-century target date is a target UN experts say is needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and is seen as the limit to avoid a major acceleration of extreme events such as droughts, storms and floods.
UN experts say that even if current national plans to reduce emissions are fully implemented, the world is heading towards a global warming of 2.7 degrees Celsius.
China, the planet’s largest carbon emitter, aims to achieve net zero in 2060, while other major polluters such as India and Russia have also fallen short of their mid-century deadline.
The G20 energy and environment ministers who met in Naples in July failed to reach agreement on setting a date for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and ending coal power https://www.reuters.com/article/climate-un-coal-demand-idAFL4N2RI1DL Requests Leaders will find a solution at this weekend’s summit.
Based on the latest draft, they have made little progress, pledging to “do everything we can” to stop building new coal power plants before the end of the 2000s, and saying they will phase out fossil fuel subsidies “in the medium term”.
On the other hand, they pledged to stop financing coal power generation abroad by the end of this year.
Some developing countries are reluctant to commit to sharp cuts in emissions until rich nations fulfill a pledge they made 12 years ago to provide $100 billion annually from 2020 to help them tackle the effects of global warming.
That promise has yet to be fulfilled, contributing to the “lack of confidence” that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday is holding back progress in the climate negotiations.
The draft stresses the importance of achieving the objective and doing so in a transparent manner.
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