G-20 leaders fail to agree on target year over climate fight

G20 leaders toss a coin into Rome’s iconic Trevi Fountain on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome, Italy, October 31, 2021.

ROME (Jiji Press) — Leaders of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies on Sunday failed to agree on a target year over the world’s fight against climate change although they stressed their determination to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The fight against climate change was a major agenda item at the two-day G-20 summit in Rome through the day. Participants tried to find a common ground, but the efforts hit a snag as advanced members remained at odds with China and Russia, according to sources with access to the meeting.

“We commit to tackle the critical and urgent threat of climate change,” the participants said in a leaders’ declaration adopted at the summit, citing “the need to strengthen global efforts required to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

But they only acknowledged the importance of achieving global net zero greenhouse gas emissions or carbon neutrality “by or around mid-century,” failing to set a specific target year for achieving this.

The 2015 Paris Agreement, an international framework for combatting climate change, calls for, as a nonbinding goal, limiting the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius from the preindustrial levels.

The fight against climate change is a decisive challenge, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who chaired the summit, told the second-day meeting.

Transition to renewable energy is a key in the fight, he said, adding that the shift should not be delayed any more. The G-20 economies will be responsible for the Paris Agreement target, Draghi said.

The 20 economies are believed to be accounting for about 80 pct of global emissions.

At the Rome meeting, advanced nations sought to set the target year for achieving carbon neutrality at 2050 in the leaders’ declaration.

But Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the country aims to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions effectively to zero by 2060, unchanged from its earlier announced target. Russia sided with China.

Over global warming, the G-20 leaders agreed to “put an end” to the supply of international public finance for new unabated coal power generation abroad by the end of 2021.

On the fight against the novel coronavirus, the G-20 leaders said that they will take steps to boost the supply of vaccines and essential medical products to developing nations to help reach “the global goals of vaccinating at least 40 pct of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70 pct by mid-2022.” The goals have been set by the World Health Organization.

Elsewhere in the statement, the G-20 leaders said that central banks “are monitoring current price dynamics closely” and “will act as needed to meet their mandates, including price stability.”

“We are committed to maintain energy security” and “will remain vigilant of the evolution of energy markets,” they also said.

With soaring energy prices becoming a global issue, U.S. President Joe Biden, during the G-20 summit, asked oil-producing countries for appropriate oil supplies.

The global economy has been recovering “at a solid pace” thanks partly to COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, the G-20 leaders noted.

But they warned that the recovery “remains highly divergent across and within countries, and exposed to downside risks, in particular the possible spread of new variants of COVID-19 and uneven vaccination paces.”

The G-20 groups Japan, South Korea, China, Indonesia, India, Australia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Canada, the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the European Union.