Climate set to dominate G20 summit ahead of UN conference

  • Rich country leaders to meet ahead of climate summit
  • Chinese and Russian presidents to follow events remotely
  • G20 countries could make or break global warming talks
  • COVID-19 crisis, economic recovery should also feature

ROME, October 28 (Reuters) – If high-stakes climate talks are to be successful next month in Glasgow, the first signs of progress could appear this weekend when leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies hold their first meeting opposite face to face in two years.

Big obstacles stand in the way. The G20 is divided on issues such as phasing out coal and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), leaving diplomats little time to forge a deal ahead of the rally October 30 and 31. Read more

Many of the leaders coming to Rome, including US President Joe Biden, will immediately fly to Scotland for the United Nations climate summit, known as COP26, which is seen as essential to tackling the threat. of rising temperatures. Read more

COP26 involves nearly 200 countries, but the G20 bloc, which includes Brazil, China, India, Germany and the United States, is the dominant force, accounting for over 80% of global gross domestic product , 60% of its population and about 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“The time for diplomatic niceties is over. If governments, especially the G20 governments, do not stand up and lead this effort, we are heading for terrible human suffering,” the Secretary General of the United Kingdom said last week. UN, Antonio Guterres.

In a setback to hopes for a strong G20 response, Biden’s expectations of heading to Europe with a strong national agreement on climate policy have declined dramatically due to political divisions over a broader spending package. Read more

Much to the disappointment of the Italian hosts, the leaders of China, Japan, Mexico, Russia and Saudi Arabia refused to attend the meeting, which will be held in a suburb of Rome called EUR, built by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have reportedly stepped down over concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, but are expected to follow the discussions via a video link, diplomats said.


Carabinieri police inspect the area with explosive detection dogs outside the “La Nuvola” (the cloud) convention center ahead of the G20 summit in Rome, Italy on October 27, 2021. REUTERS / Yara Nardi

COVID-19 meant that last year’s G20 summit was a virtual event and the continued fallout from the health emergency will feature prominently in the Rome talks, with Italy keen for major economies to coordinate the global recovery.

Fears about rising energy prices and stretched supply chains are likely to be allayed, as will the need for reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

G20 leaders will also approve a minimum global tax rate of 15% for large corporations – a deal that was finalized earlier this month and which Italy has hailed as a major achievement of its presidency of a year of the G20. Read more

Italy also said it was proud of a summit it hosted in May that resulted in pledges from rich countries for hundreds of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine for poorer regions, as well as an agreement to channel emergency reserves from the International Monetary Fund to impoverished countries. .

“Given the international situation, I think Italy can be satisfied with its presidency of the G20. But I hope that other agreements can be reached on decarbonization”, said Antonio Villafranca, director of studies at Italian Institute for International Political Studies.

One area in which Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi aims to find consensus is the commitment to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels – another element of the battle to reduce gas to greenhouse effect responsible for the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere.

One of the most delicate negotiations will be the need for rich countries to honor their 2009 pledge to provide the poor with $ 100 billion a year to help them adapt to climate change.

In 2015, they agreed to extend this target until 2025, but the target, which some poor countries and climate activists now deem insufficient, has yet to be met.

Discussions will take place in a futuristic convention center called ‘The Cloud’, with social events scheduled at some of the historic sites that dot central Rome, including a gala dinner in the Presidential Palace.

The Interior Ministry said between 5,000 and 6,000 police and some 500 soldiers would be deployed to provide security. Airspace will be closed over Rome and border controls will be tightened in an attempt to ward off potential troublemakers.

Additional reporting by Angelo Amante and Gavin Jones in Rome and Michel Rose in Paris; edited by Barbara Lewis

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