World leaders attending G20 pose for a photo in front of Rome's famous Trevi fountain World leaders attending G20 pose for a photo in front of Rome's famous Trevi fountain  (AFP or licensors)

G20 leaders renew commitment to limit global warming

Leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies agree to keep to the 1.5 degrees target for reducing global warming on the final day of their two-day summit in Rome, which sought to bridge divisions over how best to reduce carbon emissions ahead of COP26.

By Susy Hodges

The communiqué issued at the end of the summit in Rome said the G20 countries promised to step up their efforts to limit global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This is the key level scientists have said is necessary to avoid disastrous new climate patterns.

But observers said the communiqué contained few concrete actions to limit those carbon emissions.

Overcoming divisions

The leaders were attending their first in-person G20 summit since the Covid-19 pandemic, and their agenda included not just climate change but also international economic recovery, Covid-19 vaccines, and rising energy prices.

In his opening address to the summit, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said governments had to work together to face up to the formidable challenges facing our world, warning that “going it alone is simply not an option.”

The G20 group is made up of 19 countries and the European Union, and together they account for 80 percent of the world’s carbon or greenhouse gas emissions.

Vaccines for developing nations

On the first day of their summit, the G20 leaders agreed to supply more Covid vaccines to poorer nations with a pledge to vaccinate 70 percent of the world’s population against Covid-19 by mid-2022.

Ahead of the summit, activists had urged the G20 nations to end the scandal of global vaccine inequality, noting that less than 10 percent of the population in poorer nations had been vaccinated up to now. 

They called on the richer nations to stop hoarding vaccines and help ensure that a UN target of vaccinating 40 percent of the population in poor and lower-middle income countries is met by the end of this year.

Corporate tax floor

The summit also saw agreement on a global minimum tax rate of 15 percent aimed at stopping large businesses from hiding profits in tax havens.

The G20 summit came just ahead of the crucial COP26 UN climate change conference opening on Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland.

The COP26 conference is seen by many scientists as a last-ditch chance to secure an agreement to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

31 October 2021, 16:14