Last week, climate and environment ministers from 51 countries met in Naples from July 22nd until 23rd to hold the Environment, Climate and Energy Ministerial G20 Meeting. It was the first face-to-face ministerial meeting of its kind in more than 18 months.
It aimed to boost the countries’ climate change goals for the next few months ahead of the major UN COP26 climate leadership summit in Glasgow in November. However, the G20 meeting ended without an agreement on a specific commitment related to global temperature targets.
It also failed to find common ground on phasing out coal or removing subsidies for fossil fuels, due to opposition from Russia, China, India, and Saudi Arabia.
“The world will be watching to see whether we come together in Glasgow and do what is necessary to turn things around in this decisive decade…It is essential that together we roll up our sleeves, find common ground and collectively draw out how we will build a greener, brighter future for our children and future generations,” said British minister Alok Sharma.
Major Points Discussed At The G20 Meeting
One of the most discussed points was the global temperature rise target set by the Paris Agreement. Some G20 countries were supporters of a commitment to remain within 1.5 degrees Celsius of temperature increase. This push signals willingness to accelerate the decarbonization process.
Others are struggling with the idea to phase out fossil fuels to achieve more ambitious climate change goals for the future as they are still reliant on them. Turkey is one of the countries that issued a statement saying it would not ratify the Paris agreement unless it was reclassified as a developing country – something it had pointed out routinely on climate meetings.
“We had very long negotiations … in the end, we were able to limit to two points (of disagreement) only. With two out of 60 paragraphs (left out), we have reached a good result,” said Italy’s Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani. He also added: “It was a marathon…As you see from my shirt, I have been sweating and it was not particularly easy.”
However, with just two articles out of 60 that could not be agreed upon, the G20 meeting was deemed unprecedented and a turning point in the world’s efforts to address climate change. It was also seen as a test of what to expect at the COP26 Glasgow climate summit 2021.
It was summarized by other members as being divisive and disappointing for that fact that despite progress no final consensus for coal was reached.
The G20 meeting has opened the path of negotiations ahead of the UN COP26 major climate summit later this year. It failed to reach agreements on critical points like leaving fossil fuels in history, however, it sustains the important conversation on climate change mitigation and saw no country putting climate change targets in doubt.