G20 StatesAgree on 1.5°C Target Ahead of UN Climate Talks

November 01, 2021

According to a final draught communique, G20 leaders meeting in Romecommitted to the key goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and pledged action on coal use, but fell short of a target of zero emissions.The pledges made by the Group of 20 major economies, which account for nearly 80% of global carbon emissions, are seen as critical to the success of the make-or-break UN climate talks taking place in Glasgow over the next two weeks.According to a draught communique that several sources said was the final version, the leaders agreed to maintain key commitments made at the historic 2015 Paris meeting.

“Keeping 1.5 degrees within reach will necessitate meaningful and effective actions and commitment from all countries, taking into account different approaches,” the report states.Diplomats said the language used was tougher than in the Paris agreement, but activist groups called the final statementweak andhalf-hearted.Leaders from the United States, China, India, Russia, and the European Union, among others, call for clear national plans that “align long-term ambition with short- and medium-term goals, as well as with international cooperation and support,” according to the statement.

However, experts say that meeting the 1.5-degree target will require cutting global emissions nearly in half by 2030 and to “net-zero” by 2050 — and there is no firm date in the G20 communique, which only mentions reaching net zeroby or around mid-century.The leaders did agree to stop funding for new unabated coal plants abroad by the end of 2021, i.e., those whose emissions have not been filtered.

Greenpeace, an environmental campaign group, slammed the final statement as “weak, lacking both ambition and vision,” claiming that G20 leaders “failed to meet the moment.”

“If the G20 was a dress rehearsal for COP26, world leaders fumbled their lines,” Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said.According to FriederikeRoder, senior director of the anti-poverty organization Global Citizen, the summit produced “half-measures rather than concrete actions.However, French President Emmanuel Macron had previously stated that it was too soon to dismiss the success of the Glasgow talks.

Nearly 200 nations are congregating in the Scottish city, with many of the world’s leaders, including US President Joe Biden, flying straight there from Rome.The Rome summit had to “do everything” to ensure Glasgow’s success, but “nothing is ever written before a COP,” Macron told the weekly Journal du Dimanche.

“Let us not forget that nothing was decided in advance in Paris in 2015,” he said.China, by far the world’s largest carbon polluter, intends to make its economy carbon neutral by 2060, but has resisted calls to set shorter-term targets.

Meanwhile, India contends that if the global goal is net-zero emissions by 2050, then rich countries should achieve carbon neutrality ten years earlier to allow poorer, emerging nations a larger carbon allowance and more time to develop.

Earlier on Sunday, summit host Mario Draghi, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Prince Charles, and Pope Francis all urged G20 leaders — and, by extension, the larger group of world leaders meeting in Glasgow — to think big. Climate change, according to Draghi, is the “defining challenge of our time,” and that “either we act now… or we delay acting, pay a much higher price later, and risk failing.”

“It is impossible not to hear the despairing voices of young people who see you, ladies and gentlemen, as the stewards of the planet, holding the viability of their future in your hands,” the British heir to the throne told the G20.Later, Pope Francis tweeted, “This is a time to dream big, to rethink our priorities… The time has come to act, and to act together!”

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