G20 does not agree on climate targets in the communique

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NAPLES, July 23 (Reuters) – Energy and environment ministers of the group of 20 rich nations failed to agree on the wording of the key climate change commitments in their final communiqué, Italy’s ecological transformation minister Roberto Cingolani said Friday.

The G20 meeting was seen as a crucial step ahead of the United Nations climate talks, known as COP 26, which will take place in Glasgow in 100 days in November.

Failure to agree on a common language before this meeting is likely to be seen as a setback to hopes for meaningful agreement in Scotland.

Cingolani told reporters that ministers could not agree on two contentious issues that would now have to be debated at a G20 summit in Rome in October.

“The commitments made today lack substance and ambition. It is now up to the G20 leaders to reject this document at the October summit,” said the online activist network Avaaz.

Italy holds the rotating presidency of the G20, and Cingolani, chairing the two-day meeting, said negotiations with China, Russia and India had proven particularly difficult.

Cingolani said China and India ended up refusing to sign the two controversial points.

One of them was phasing out coal-fired power, which most countries wanted to achieve by 2025, but some said it was impossible for them.

The other concerned the formulation of a 1.5-2 degree Celsius limit for global temperature rise, which was set by the Paris Agreement of 2015.

Global average temperatures have already risen by more than 1 degree compared to the pre-industrial base values ​​used by scientists and are well on the way to exceed the 1.5 to 2 degree limit.

“Some countries wanted to move faster than Paris agreed and limit temperatures to 1.5 degrees within a decade, but others with a more carbon-based economy said we should just stick to the Paris agreements,” said Cingolani.

The final communiqué planned for Friday will probably not be published until Saturday, he added.

In the run-up to COP 26, environmental activists had hoped that the G20 meeting would lead to a strengthening of climate targets, new commitments to climate finance and an increase in the number of countries committed to net zero emissions by 2050.

“The G20 are not delivering any results. Italy’s G20 slogan is ‘People, Planet, Prosperity’ but today the G20 is delivering ‘Pollution, Poverty and Paralysis’, Avaaz said.

Cingolani said the G20 had not made any new financial commitments, but added that Italy would increase its own climate finance for underdeveloped countries.

The urgency for climate action was made clear this month by deadly floods in Europe, fires in the United States and scorching temperatures in Siberia, but countries remain at odds over how to pay for costly measures to reduce global warming.

Despite the two disagreements, Cingolani said the G20 had drafted a 58-point communiqué and that all countries agreed that decarbonization was a necessary goal.

“The G20 has for the first time accepted that climate and energy policies are closely linked,” he said when asked which aspect of the package he was most satisfied with.

“What happened today would have been unthinkable four months ago,” he added.

In the run-up to the full communique, the Italian Presidency published a summary of the agreement under headings such as “Fighting Climate Change”, “Clean Energy”, “Climate Finance,” Research and Development “and” Smart Cities “.

It referred to a 2009 agreement that would see developed countries collectively provide $ 100 billion in climate finance annually through 2020 to poorer countries, many of whom are grappling with rising sea levels, storms and droughts made worse by climate change become. This goal has yet to be achieved.

Nonetheless, the Italian Presidency’s executive summary states that the commitment “remains at the center” and there is “a commitment to increase contributions every year until 2025”.

Editing by Barbara Lewis, Crispian Balmer, and Giles Elgood

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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