G20 reaches climate agreement with few concrete commitments

G20 reaches climate agreement with few concrete commitments

G20 leaders agreed to a final statement on Sunday (31) that calls for “significant and effective” action to limit global warming to 1.5 °C, but offers few concrete commitments.

The result of days of tough negotiations between diplomats leaves much work to be done at the UN’s largest climate summit in Scotland, COP26, where most of the leaders of the world’s top 20 economies will fly directly from Rome.

The bloc, which includes Brazil, China, India, Germany and the United States, is responsible for around 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The final document says that current national plans on how to reduce emissions will have to be strengthened “if necessary” and makes no specific reference to 2050 as a date to zero net carbon emissions.

“We recognize that the impacts of climate change at 1.5 °C are much less than at 2 °C. Keeping 1.5 °C within reach will require significant and effective action and commitment from all countries,” he said.

The 1.5 °C limit is what UN (United Nations) experts say must be reached to avoid a dramatic acceleration of extreme weather events such as droughts, storms and floods, and to achieve it they recommend that net emissions are zeroed by 2050.

The bill includes a pledge to suspend international funding for coal-fired power generation by the end of this year, but has not set a date for countries to phase out coal, merely promising to do so “as soon as possible. possible”.

The G20 has also not set a date for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, saying there will be efforts to do so “in the medium term”.

​As for methane, which has a more potent but less lasting impact on global warming than carbon dioxide, the agreement softens the text of an earlier bill. In the project, leaders recognized “the fundamental importance” of zeroing net carbon emissions “by the middle of this century”. Italy, which is hosting the summit, pushed to include the 2050 date.

China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, has set a later target date of 2060, and other big polluters such as India and Russia have not committed to 2050.

The 20 most developed nations also reaffirmed the commitment, so far unfulfilled, to mobilize $100 billion towards the costs of adapting to climate change in developing countries. UN experts say that even if current national plans are fully implemented, the world is heading towards global warming of 2.7°C and should experience an escalation in the occurrence of extreme weather events.


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