Rome: Leaders of the world’s biggest economies pledged on Sunday to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century as they wrapped up a two-day summit that set the stage for the UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland .
According to the final communiqué, the Group of 20 leaders also agreed to end public funding for coal-fired power generation abroad, but did not set any targets for phasing out coal domestically. a clear nod to coal-dependent countries, including China and India, and a blow to Britain, which had hoped for stronger commitments before the Glasgow meeting.
Group of 20 countries account for more than three quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions and Italy, host of the summit, was looking for strong targets on how to cut emissions while helping poor countries cope with the impact of rising temperatures.
Without them, momentum could be lost for the broader annual discussions which officially opened on Sunday in Glasgow and where countries from around the world will be represented, including the poor most vulnerable to rising seas, desertification and to other effects.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told leaders at the final working session on Sunday that they needed both to set long-term goals and make short-term changes to achieve them.
We need to accelerate the coal phase-out and invest more in renewables,” he said. We also have to make sure that we use available resources wisely, which means we have to become able to adapt our technologies and also our lifestyles to this new world.
According to the statement, the G20 reaffirmed past pledges by rich countries to mobilize 0 billion a year to help the poorest countries tackle climate change, and pledged to increase funding to help them s ‘adapt.
The sticking point remained the time to achieve carbon neutrality or net zero emissions, that is to say a balance between greenhouse gases added and removed from the atmosphere. Upon entering the summit, Italy had all but conceded that it would only be able to secure commitments to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century,” rather than a specific year.
According to the final communiqué, G20 leaders said they will accelerate our actions on mitigation, adaptation and finance, recognizing the key relevance of reaching net global greenhouse gas emissions or neutrality. carbon by or around the middle of the century.
A French official said ‘mid-century’ meant 2050 in a strict sense but given the diversity of G20 countries… it means everyone agreeing on a common goal while also providing a bit of flexibility to accommodate national diversity. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the French official cited major carbon polluters as China and India, as well as Indonesia.
Some countries have set 2050 as a target date for net zero emissions, while China, Russia and Saudi Arabia are aiming for 2060.
The future of coal, a key source of greenhouse gas emissions, was one of the hardest things to come up with for the G20.
At the Rome summit, leaders agreed to end the provision of international public funding for new coal-fired power generation overseas by the end of 2021.
This refers to financial support for the construction of coal-fired power plants abroad, something Western countries have moved away from and major Asian economies are now doing the same: Chinese President Xi Jinping told the Assembly last month General of the United Nations that Beijing would stop funding such projects, and Japan and South Korea made similar pledges earlier in the year.
The failure of the G20 to set a target to phase out domestic coal use was a blow to Britain, which had hoped progress would be made on the issue at COP26. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman Max Blain said the G-20 communiqué was never meant to be the main lever for securing commitments on climate change, which would be hammered home at the Glasgow summit.
He said the UK would continue to push for ambitious coal commitments.
Youth climate activists Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate released an open letter to the media as the G20 drew to a close, highlighting three fundamental aspects of the climate crisis that are often downplayed: that time is running out, that any solution must do justice to the people most affected by climate change, and that the biggest polluters often hide behind incomplete statistics on their true emissions.
The climate crisis will only become more urgent. We can still avoid the worst consequences, we can still turn things around. But not if we continue like today,” they wrote, just weeks after Thunberg shamed world leaders for their blah blah blah blah rhetoric at a youth climate summit in Milan.
Britain’s Prince Charles addressed the G20 on Sunday morning and urged leaders to listen to the young people who are inheriting a warming Earth, warning it is literally the last ditch saloon.
Charles, a longtime environmental activist, said public-private partnerships were the only way to achieve the trillions of dollars in annual investments needed to switch to clean, sustainable energy sources that will mitigate warming temperatures world.
It’s impossible not to hear the desperate voices of young people who see you as stewards of the planet, holding the viability of their future in your hands, Charles said.