“We made sure that our dreams are not only alive, but that they are evolving,” Draghi told a closing news conference, where he dismissed criticism from environmentalists that the G20 had not gone far enough to resolve the crisis.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who on Friday warned that the world was rushing headlong into climate disasters, said the Rome summit was not everything he hoped for.
“While I welcome the # G20’s commitment to global solutions, I leave Rome with my hopes unfulfilled – but at least they are not buried,” he said in a tweet.
The G20, which includes Brazil, China, India, Germany and the United States, accounts for 60% of the world’s population and an estimated 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The 1.5C threshold is what UN experts say must be adhered to in order to avoid a dramatic acceleration of extreme climate events such as droughts, storms and floods, and to reach it they recommend that net zero emissions be reached by 2050.
The efforts are enormous – among them the very survival of low-income countries, the impact on economic livelihoods worldwide and the stability of the global financial system.
“This was a moment for the G20 to act with the responsibilities they have as the biggest emitters, yet we see only half measures ahead of concrete urgent action,” said Friederike Roder, vice president of the advocacy group for sustainable development Global Citizen.
The final summit document said that the current national plans for how to reduce emissions should be strengthened “if necessary” and does not specifically refer to 2050 as a date for achieving net zero CO2 emissions.
“We recognize that the effects of climate change at 1.5 ° C are much lower than at 2 ° C. Keeping 1.5 ° C within reach will require meaningful and effective action and commitment on the part of all countries,” it said. the message.
Consequences of passivity
The leaders only recognized the “key relevance” of stopping net emissions “by or around the middle of the century”. This removed the 2050 date seen in previous versions of the final statement to make the goal less specific.
China, the world’s largest CO2 emitter, has set a target date of 2060, and other major polluters such as India and Russia have not committed to the 2050 target date either.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the deal was a good signal for COP26, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signaled that he would have liked more ambition.
“There is no doubt that Canada, along with a number of other countries, would have wanted a stronger language and stronger commitments in the fight against climate change than others,” he told reporters.
UN experts say that although the current national plans are fully implemented, the world is heading towards a global warming of 2.7 degrees, with catastrophic consequences.
Sir. Draghi, acting president of the G20, said nations would continue to improve their plans to reduce CO2 emissions in the coming years, adding that he was surprised at how far countries like China and Russia had changed their position in the last few days.
“It’s easy to suggest difficult things. It’s very, very difficult to actually accomplish them,” he said.
The final G20 declaration promises to halt the financing of overseas coal-fired power generation by the end of this year, but sets no date for phasing out coal power, promising to do so only “as soon as possible”.
This replaced a target set in an earlier draft of the final declaration to achieve this by the end of the 2030s, showing the strong opposition from some coal-dependent countries
The G20 also did not set a date for phasing out subsidies for fossil fuels, saying it would aim to do so “in the medium term”.
As for methane, which has a more potent but less lasting impact than carbon dioxide on global warming, they diluted their wording from an earlier draft that promised to “strive to significantly reduce our collective methane emissions”.
The final declaration precisely recognizes that reducing methane emissions is “one of the fastest, most feasible and most cost-effective ways to curb climate change”.
G20 sources said the negotiations were tough on so-called “climate finance”, which refers to a 2009 promise from rich nations to provide $ 100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries tackle climate change.
They have failed to meet the promise, which has created distrust and a reluctance among some developing countries to accelerate their emission reductions.
Draghi, however, said the funding gap had narrowed to less than $ 20 billion and predicted that it could be closed further where wealthy nations considered using International Monetary Fund funding to make up the deficit.
World leaders will kick off COP26 on Monday with two-day speeches that could include some new promises of emission reduction before technical dealers lock their horns over the rules of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
The UN said last week that greenhouse gas concentrations hit record highs in 2020 and that the world was “off track” in limiting rising temperatures.