The group of 20 rich countries is divided on the phasing out of coal and a commitment to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius as they prepare for a crucial summit in Rome next week, sources said familiar with the negotiations.
The need to curb greenhouse gases will be one of the priorities on the agenda of the G20 meeting in Rome from 30 to 31 October, considered a key step immediately ahead of the broader climate talks of the United Nations, called COP26, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland.
COP26 President Britain’s Alok Sharma said in a speech this month that the G20, which accounts for 80% of global emissions, would be a “make or break” to achieve success in Glasgow.
However, major polluters such as China and India have so far penetrated, and little progress has been made since G20 energy and environment ministers met in Naples in July, three sources said. , who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the talks.
“Countries are not moving, at the moment they are just making sure their positions are heard loud and clear,” one source said.
But he added that such intransigence was normal at this stage and that concessions are unlikely to occur before the G20 climate sherpas meet face-to-face next Thursday and Friday, immediately before their leaders ’weekend meeting.
“Where I see the problem is in the 1.5 degree bet and in the phasing out of coal and fossil fuels by China, India and Russia,” said another source, a G20 minister .
In a letter to G20 President Mario Draghi, Italy, nine countries, including Grenada and the Marshall Islands, both vulnerable to storms and rising seas, urged G20 countries to increase their climate promises to “give the tone “at COP26.
Climate scientists say limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels is vital to limiting environmental disasters, but a broad and clear commitment to achieving the goal is difficult.
The United Nations Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, aimed to limit global warming to “well below 2 degrees” and “preferably” to 1.5 degrees, and since then international meetings have tried to harden his tongue.
In Naples, the Ministers of Energy and the Environment acknowledged that environmental risks were less than 1.5 degrees than two, but again came to clearly state that 1.5 should not be violated.
Nor did they reach a unanimous agreement on setting dates to end fossil fuel subsidies, halt international funding for coal projects and eliminate coal power altogether, calling on leaders to overcome the gaps at the next coalition summit. Rome.
Coal still supplies more than half of the electricity generated by China, the world’s largest energy producer and also the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
The country has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2060 but has not committed to a date to stop domestic coal production.
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At least four G20 leaders are expected to come to Rome, including China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, another major oil and gas producer.
One source said that while these absences “were not a major political signal,” they would not necessarily impede progress.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will come to Rome, officials said, and New Delhi confirmed on Thursday that he will also be at COP26 in Glasgow.
Neither Russia, nor China, nor India have committed to achieving net carbon emissions by 2050, considered a vital goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.
So far, China is more reluctant to commit to the 1.5-degree ceiling, while India is more uncompromising in not promising zero net emissions by 2050, one source said. .
China and India are also part of a group of countries that have not yet submitted new national plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) before COP26, on how they will help curb climate change.
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