Thursday, July 7, 2022

G-20 Summit on Climate Change and COVID Pandemic kicks off in Rome

The G-20 summit, hosted by Italy, kicked off Saturday in Rome, where leaders of the world’s largest economies discussed issues of mutual interest, including post-pandemic recovery and climate change.

A red carpet was rolled out at Rome’s La Nuvola Convention Center when Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi greeted US President Joe Biden and other leaders amid stringent COVID-19 protocols.

This summit is the first face-to-face meeting of leaders in two years since the virtual summit organized in Saudi Arabia last year. It is noteworthy that Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador are absent. They will join virtually, citing fears of a pandemic at home.

Pandemic response and prevention

On Friday, G-20 health and finance ministers issued a communiqué pledging to bring the pandemic everywhere under control as soon as possible. They said the G-20 will take all the necessary steps to achieve global vaccination targets for at least 40% of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid-2022, as recommended by the World Health Organization. …

However, ministers were unable to agree on a separate funding and coordination mechanism to prepare for future pandemics proposed by the US and Indonesia.

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“We are not looking for the final end product of the funding mechanism or the end product of a task force or council that will act as some sort of global coordinating body in the future,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told VOA aboard Air Force One en route to Rome. Thursday. “So we hope that the communique will set out the intention that we will work to achieve these two results.”

Changing of the climate

In Rome, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called the summit an opportunity to “turn things around” ahead of the UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, in which G-20 leaders will attend after meeting in Italy.

“There is a serious risk that Glasgow will not meet its targets,” Guterres said. “Current Nationally Determined Contributions, a formal commitment by governments, still doom the world to a catastrophic 2.7 degrees rise,” he said, referring to the promise made in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 2 degrees. Celsius, ideally up to 1.5. degrees Celcius.

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Countries are expected to announce additional emission reduction commitments to reach the zero emissions target by around mid-century, but some analysts are skeptical about these voluntary commitments, which come without enforcement mechanisms.

“There will be promises, at best something like what we saw in Paris,” said Dalibor Rohak, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Rohak added that the world needs real action to make progress on climate change.

“Instead of continuing this habit of looking for a grand multilateral solution, there should be sound domestic policies that accelerate decarbonization,” he said.

A key issue to look at is whether G-20 members can agree on action on coal. The UN has called on rich countries to phase out coal by 2030, but G-20 environment ministers have been unable to agree on a timeline.

Guterres also called on rich countries to fulfill their funding commitments to help developing countries mitigate the impacts of climate change. In line with the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, rich countries pledged to provide low-income countries with at least $ 100 billion a year in climate finance. Most of this money was never delivered.

Nation World News Desk
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