G20 ministers sign deal but stuck on global warming caps

By: AFP      Published: 11:27 PM, 23 Jul, 2021
G20 ministers sign deal but stuck on global warming caps

G20 environment and energy ministers announced Friday an agreement that reaffirms commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement, although they failed to agree to wording on global warming caps.

Following two days of environment and climate talks in Naples, Italy's Ecological Transition Minister, Roberto Cingolani, said negotiations were "particularly complex" but expressed satisfaction with the result. 

"This deal is fundamental for opening the way to the COP26," said Cingolani, referring to November's UN climate talks in Glasgow. 

However, two articles out of 60 were struck from the document as they could not be agreed upon, he said. Those will now be taken up by G20 heads of state for decision-making. 

One involved the wording of limitations on global warming increases to 1.5 to 2 percent as set by the 2015 Paris Agreement, adopted by nearly 200 countries, said Cingolani, speaking to journalists. 

The Paris Agreement calls to collectively cap warming at "well below" two degrees Celsius -- and 1.5 degrees if possible.

"Everyone is committed to decarbonisation, the question is on the time scale," Cingolani said. "Some countries risk economically not being able to do it."

The Naples gathering came two weeks after the G20 meeting of finance ministers in Venice, in which the final statement cited carbon pricing as a possible tool to fight global warming.

"Everyone from China to India to the United States, Russia and European countries agreed that, especially after the pandemic phase, the energy transition to renewable energy is a tool for inclusive and fast socio-economic growth, job creation and must be a just transition that leaves no one behind," read a communique published Friday evening after the ministers' talks ended. 

COP26 will gather climate negotiators from 196 countries and the European Union, along with businesses, experts and world leaders in Glasgow between November 1-12.

COP26 was originally scheduled for November 2020 but was pushed back due to the pandemic.

Groups of activists protested in Naples during the conference with one banner reading, "The G20 is dancing on the Titanic, save the planet".