G20 summit in Rome: disagreement to the end

Status: 10/31/2021 2:41 p.m.

The G20 wanted to send out a strong signal for the climate conference. After difficult discussions, little was achieved: A specific date for achieving zero emissions is still missing. The states also remain vague on global warming.

At the end of their G20 summit in Rome, the major economic powers were unable to agree on an ambitious declaration on climate protection. As can be seen from the negotiated text for the communiqué, there is still no clear target date for the important carbon dioxide neutrality and the phase-out from coal-fired power generation. The document is available to the dpa news agency.

Instead of the hoped-for “strong signal” at the start of the World Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, there was disagreement until the very end. Climate activists said they were “disappointed” because the G20 group is responsible for 80 percent of emissions. While the year 2050 should be set for “net zero emissions of greenhouse gases or carbon dioxide neutrality” at the beginning, the target is only generally from “up to or around the middle of the century”. This means that only as much emissions are emitted as can be bound.

Consideration for China and Russia?

The withdrawal was apparently out of consideration for China and Russia, who do not strive for the goal until 2060. India does not want to commit itself. There was also no longer any agreement on “immediate action”, as it was called in an initial draft. There is now less urgency about “meaningful and effective action”.

Only in general does the G20 affirm that it is still committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement of keeping global warming “well below two degrees and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees”. However, experts believe that a significant improvement in the action plans of the individual countries is necessary. A coal exit was not even mentioned directly.

The commitment to phase out investments in coal-fired power plants was also not very specific. If that originally happened “in the 2030s”, the year was missing in the final communiqué. It is now being envisaged “as soon as possible”. This could mean that consideration has again been given to China or India, which rely heavily on coal for their electricity generation and are difficult to meet demand.

However, the G20 declared that it would no longer use public funds to support the construction of coal-fired power plants abroad by the end of this year. Even a reference to the “alarming reports” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which had warned of the dangers of global warming, was weakened in the final text with “recent reports”. An initial formulation to aim for a “largely carbon dioxide-free power supply” in the 2030s is also missing. Rather, there is a general desire to expand clean energies.

Criticism of the results

“The G20 summit should have been a landmark for the UN world climate conference COP26 in Glasgow,” said climate expert Jan Kowalzig from the development organization Oxfam. “That didn’t work.” The G20 failed to recognize the inadequacy of its self-commitments under the Paris Agreement and to commit itself to “urgently needed, immediate improvement”.

“Even Germany and the European Union are still not ready to do their fair share,” said Kowalzig. The world is currently heading for catastrophic warming of 2.7 degrees, although a maximum of 1.5 degrees is considered the critical threshold.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *