JULY 24, 2021
By Paul Homewood
Latest news from G20:
NAPLES (Reuters) -Energy and environment ministers from the Group of 20 rich nations have failed to agree on the wording of key climate change commitments in their final communique, Italy’s Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said on Friday.
The G20 meeting was seen as a decisive step ahead of United Nations climate talks, known as COP 26, which take place in 100 days’ time in Glasgow in November.
The failure to agree common language ahead of that gathering is likely to be seen as a setback to hopes of securing a meaningful accord in Scotland.
Cingolani told reporters that the ministers could not agree on two disputed issues which would now have to be discussed at a G20 summit in Rome in October.
“Commitments made today lack substance and ambition. It is now up to G20 heads of state and government to discard this document at the October leaders’ summit,” said online activist network Avaaz.
Italy holds the rotating presidency of the G20, and Cingolani, as chairman of the two-day gathering, said negotiations with China, Russia and India had proved especially tough.
Cingolani said that in the end China and India had declined to sign the two contested points.
One of these was phasing out coal power, which most countries wanted to achieve by 2025 but some said would be impossible for them.
The other concerned the wording surrounding a 1.5-2 degree Celsius limit on global temperature increases that was set by the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Average global temperatures have already risen by more than 1 degree compared to the pre-industrial baseline used by scientists and are on track to exceed the 1.5-2 degree ceiling.
“Some countries wanted to go faster than what was agreed in Paris and to aim to cap temperatures at 1.5 degrees within a decade, but others, with more carbon based economies, said let’s just stick to what was agreed in Paris,” Cingolani said.
The final communique, which had been due to be published on Friday, would probably not now be released until Saturday, he added.
Ahead of COP 26, environmental activists had hoped that the G20 gathering would lead to a strengthening of climate targets, new commitments on climate financing, and an increase in countries committing to net zero emissions by 2050.
“The G20 is failing to deliver. Italy’s G20 tagline is ‘People, Planet, Prosperity’, but today the G20 is delivering ‘Pollution, Poverty and Paralysis,” said Avaaz.
Cingolani said the G20 had made no new financial commitments, but added that Italy would increase its own climate financing for underdeveloped countries.
Clearly China, Russia and India were never going to commit to give a date for phasing out coal power, as they know their economies depend on it. And while ever Germany carries on using coal, which they plan to until 2038, they will carry on saying get lost.
But more significant is the second sticking point – “Some countries wanted to go faster than what was agreed in Paris and to aim to cap temperatures at 1.5 degrees within a decade, but others, with more carbon based economies, said let’s just stick to what was agreed in Paris”
As we know, the Paris Agreement did nothing whatsoever to cut global emissions. While the 1.5C figure was “agreed” as the objective, the Agreement contained nothing to actually achieving it. On the contrary, developing nations were allowed to carry on increasing emissions, more than cancelling out emissions cuts by developed countries.
What Cingolani’s statement seems to indicate is that many of the G20 countries, even including developed ones, are refusing to improve on their Paris Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs. These are the pledges made at Paris, detailing and quantifying emissions cuts up to 2030.
With money still a sticking point, any real breakthrough at Glasgow is as far away as ever.