The Group of 20 (G20) major industrialized countries begin a two-day summit in Rome on Saturday with climate action and the COVID-19 pandemic expected to dominate talks.
The G20 bloc, which includes Brazil, China, India, Germany and the United States, accounts for over 80% of the world’s gross domestic product, 60% of its population and around 80% of carbon emissions .
German Acting Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend the talks alongside US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, among others. Other leaders such as Russian Vladimir Putin and Chinese Xi Jinping are participating by video link.
Climate summit imminent to focus leaders’ minds
Above the talks looms pressure to make progress in the fight against global warming, ahead of the key COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next week.
G20 host and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called for a “G20 commitment on the need to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius” above pre-industrial levels, the most ambitious target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
But China, the world’s biggest polluter and responsible for more than a quarter of all carbon emissions, has been accused of evading calls to stop construction of new coal-fired power plants.
Beijing plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, below the expectations of environmental groups.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has demanded that his country be paid to protect its share of the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon.
What else on the G20 agenda?
In addition to the pandemic and its consequences, ministers are expected to discuss efforts to accelerate the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, deal with soaring energy prices and bottlenecks in the economy. supply chain, which have touched a number of key industries around the world.
G20 leaders will also approve a minimum global tax rate of 15% for large corporations, a deal that was finalized earlier this month.
The move aims to end tax optimization, in which multinational companies – including big U.S. tech companies like Apple and Google’s parent company Alphabet – house their profits in low-tax countries.
Leaders were also expected to approve plans to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population against COVID-19 by mid-2022 and create a task force to tackle future pandemics.
Events planned in Rome
Multiple gatherings are planned around the G20 talks, including a demonstration by the Communist Party Rifondazione Comunista, scheduled for early Saturday afternoon.
Around 10,000 people are expected to join a climate protest organized by the youth movement Fridays for Future, in collaboration with the unions.
Security has been stepped up in Rome, as previous G20 summits have turned violent.
A police presence of 6,000 men is reinforced by around 500 soldiers.
Large parts of the area surrounding the convention center hosting the summit have been cordoned off and no one will be allowed to enter without special permission.
Airspace will be closed over Rome and border controls will be tightened in an attempt to ward off potential troublemakers.
Violent clashes erupted earlier this month between protesters and police over the extension of Italy’s coronavirus pass to all workplaces.
First Rome, then Glasgow
Many leaders in Rome, including Biden, will immediately fly to Scotland for the United Nations climate summit, which begins on Sunday.
Known as COP26, the talks are seen as essential to deal with the threat of rising temperatures and consequences such as rising sea levels, more powerful storms, more severe flooding in some areas. and more severe droughts in others.
COP26 has been touted as the last big chance to galvanize the collective effort needed to limit global warming, with scientists calling for emissions to be nearly halved by 2030 to achieve this.
Two UN reports this week warned the world is “far off track” in limiting rising temperatures, with current commitments expected to result in an average temperature rise of 2.7 degrees Celsius this century.
mm / sri (AFP, dpa, Reuters)