Sunday, November 28

Climate Change: The G20 reaches a timid agreement on global warming



The G20 countries, responsible for 80% of greenhouse gas emissions, reached an agreement on their climate ambitions on Sunday, an insufficient signal for NGOs ahead of the UN climate conference that began in Glasgow.

The leaders of the 20 most developed nations pledge to limit global warming to 1.5ºC compared to the pre-industrial era and to reduce the use of coal, but they are unable to set a precise date for carbon neutrality, according to the final declaration approved at the end of two days of the summit.

“We are proud of these results, but we must remember that it is only the beginning,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said at the end of the meeting, for whom the fight against climate change is “for the benefit of current and future generations. “.

“We are proud of these results, but we must remember that it is only the beginning,” said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

The pressure on the G20 leaders gathered in Rome since Saturday, at their first face-to-face summit since 2019, was strong. From the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to Pope Francis, calls for ambitious measures multiplied until the last minute.

The language used in the declaration is “stronger” than in the 2015 Paris Agreement, according to two sources who participated in the negotiation. The G20 is committed to “continuing efforts to limit global warming to 1.5ºC”, a goal that requires “significant actions and commitments.”

Countries also commit to stop financing the construction of new coal-fired power plants abroad, although without specifying any measures at the national level, and they advocate achieving carbon neutrality “by the middle of the century”, a more diffuse formulation than the 2050 date proposed by Italy.

This last reference is “very significant considering the diversity of the countries participating in the G20,” the French presidency relativized. China, which emits more than a quarter of greenhouse gases, wants to reach it, for example, by 2060.

The 20 most developed nations, including Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, also reaffirm the commitment, so far unfulfilled, to mobilize 100 billion dollars for the costs of adaptation to climate change in developing countries.

“Last and best chance” –

But for NGOs it was not enough. “If the G20 was a dress rehearsal for COP26, world leaders were wrong,” said Jennifer Morgan of Greenpeace, for whom the leaders “were not up to the task.” “Everything is half measures instead of concrete actions”said Friederike Röder of Global Citizen.

The ball is now at the UN climate conference (COP26), whose president, British Minister Alok Sharma, called it the “last and best chance to meet the + 1.5ºC target”, during its opening in Glasgow.

“The time has come to do the maximum in Rome so that the members of the G20 contribute in a useful way in Glasgow,” French President Emmanuel Macron told the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, clarifying that, before a COP, “nothing is decided in advance “.

“Now is the time to do our best in Rome so that the G20 members contribute in a useful way in Glasgow”

The COP, under the aegis of the UN, is the annual meeting to debate and set commitments in the fight against climate change. And the Glasgow appointment, which will last until November 12, is even more important since it cannot be held in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The agenda of the ministerial conference has four main issues and is so complex that the negotiations were opened this Sunday, without waiting for the great speeches of some 130 heads of State and Government, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

At the beginning of the event, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned in a report that the seven years between 2015 and 2021 will likely be the warmest on record to date and it warned that the climate enters “unknown territory”.

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