British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned there was “a huge way to go” at COP26 climate summit, after G20 leaders agreed to stop funding coal-fired electricity abroad but not to gradually eliminate it among them.
At a summit in Rome to pave the way for progress at COP26 in Glasgow, G20 leaders agreed to end international funding for coal-fired electricity. They also pledged to take action to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C – the first time this target was mentioned in a statement from G20 leaders.
But they did not agree to end the use of coal in their own country.
“I think we made reasonable progress at the G20 all things considered. But that’s not enough, ”Johnson said at a press conference Sunday night.
The British Prime Minister, who will host the COP26 talks, said that “the commitments, welcome as they are, are drops in a rapidly warming ocean”.
US President Joe Biden said it was “disappointing” that Russia and China “basically did not come forward in terms of commitments to tackle climate change.”
“People should be disappointed with this; I found that disappointing myself, ”he told reporters on Sunday.
He also called on Saudi Arabia, saying: “More needs to be done, but we need to continue to focus on what China doesn’t do, what Russia doesn’t do and what Saudi Arabia doesn’t do. “.
UN Secretary General António Guterres noted he “welcomed” the result of the G20 but added: “I am leaving Rome with my hopes unfulfilled – but at least they are not buried.”
The G20 decision on coal is very influential as the group, made up of 19 countries plus the EU, includes the largest consumers of coal in the world and accounts for 80 percent of global emissions.
However, the deep divisions in Rome over coal – which was the last item in the communiqué to be agreed on Sunday afternoon – also highlight the challenges ahead at COP26, which is supposed to agree on the rules that govern l Paris climate agreement. Leaders from over 100 countries are expected.
“If Glasgow fails, then everything fails,” said Johnson, speaking just minutes before leaving for Scotland. “Right now, the Paris Agreement, and the hope that goes with it, is just a piece of paper. We have to fill this piece of paper to fill it with real progress. “
Mario Draghi, Italian Prime Minister, who hosted the G20, said the summit was a success and that Rome would triple its annual climate funding.
“COP26 will now be based on fairly solid foundations. We changed the goal posts, ”added Draghi. “For the first time, the G20 countries have committed to limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C. . . We now have a common ambition, which we did not have before.
But others have said they wish the Rome summit could do more on climate change.
Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau said: “There is no doubt that Canada, and other countries, would have liked stronger language and stronger commitments in the fight against climate change.
“But we have made significant progress in recognizing the 1.5 degree and the goals we need to share,” Trudeau added.
The Rome summit deal follows heated debate and opposition from coal-dependent countries, including Turkey and Russia.
A global deal to restrict fossil fuel financing was one of the main goals of the G20 ahead of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, which officially began on Sunday. Its British hosts have said they want to “leave coal to history”.
The summit had already reached a broad agreement on vaccines and taxes on Saturday while the United States and the EU also reached an agreement on steel tariffs on the sidelines of the meeting.
The end of coal funding provision also only applies to new ‘tireless’ electricity generation abroad, which means that coal-fired power plants that include emission reduction technology, such as that the cleaning of carbon dioxide from the chimney, could still be financed.
Negotiators erupted in applause on Sunday morning when a section of the communiqué was agreed that referred to limiting global warming to 1.5C – the first time it was mentioned in an official statement by G20 leaders . Global warming since pre-industrial times is already estimated at 1.1 ° C.
The Paris climate agreement, which is signed by all G20 members, aims to limit global warming to well below 2 ° C, while working to keep increases to 1.5 ° C, this which is a much more difficult goal.
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