Jul 24, 2021 News
– Pumped US$3 Trillion into fossil fuel projects since 2015
Kaieteur News – On July 22, various Environment and Energy Ministers convened in Naples, Italy, to participate in the recently held G20 Summit, the first for this year.
The G20 Group represents an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 of the world’s most powerful countries and the European Union. It works to address major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development.
In spite of its established intentions, the first day of the summit made little progress especially as it relates to reaching climate goals with a cluster of countries resisting firm commitments. This was noted by internationally renowned news agency, The Guardian.
While the countries debated over climate change action, thousands of flag-waving marchers protested against what they said was a lack of action on addressing global warming. Italy’s Ecological Transition Minister, Roberto Cingolani, in response to the protests said, “I don’t know why there should be scuffles…when 20 nations of the world gather together to commit to seeking solutions.”
The two day G20 meeting was hinged upon the discussion of biodiversity and the natural environment; energy and climate change. However, diplomats have struggled for days to find meaningful common ground on these topics with some advocates saying this speaks to the lack of dedicated commitment to the pressing issues of climate change.
Italy’s Ecological Transition Minister said that the ministers could not agree on two disputed issues which would now have to be discussed at a summit in Rome in October. These two issues related to the phasing out of coal power by 2025 and to the timeline that had been set to achieve the 2015 Paris agreement goals for controlling global temperature increase. He also stated that the countries present at the summit were responsible for 85 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.
Environmental activists had hoped that the G20 gathering would lead to a strengthening of climate targets, new commitments on climate financing, and an increase in countries committing to net zero emissions by 2050 as the urgency of climate action has been brought home this month by deadly floods in Europe, fires in the United States and sweltering temperatures in Siberia, but countries remain at odds on how to pay for costly policies to reduce global warming.
“It looks like there will be a complete lack of any commitments on money,” said Oscar Soria of the US-based online activist group, Avaaz. “The north is telling the south ‘we need to protect the environment’ and the south is saying ‘we need money for that,’ and the Italian presidency isn’t proving very good at getting everyone on the same page,” they said.
According to a Reuters Article on the issue, developed countries agreed at the United Nations in 2009 to together contribute US$100 billion each year by 2020 in climate finance to poorer countries, many of whom are grappling with rising seas, storms and droughts made worse by climate change, however this has to date proven to be challenging.
“Financing commitments made by developed countries have not been honoured, affecting trust between parties,” said Argentina’s Environment Minister, Juan Cabandie.
With the aforementioned in consideration, this publication has become aware of a new Climate Policy Fact Book outlining the progress that each G-20 member country has made toward moving to a low-carbon economy that was released on July 20 by Bloomberg Philanthropies and BloombergNEF. The report was released to increase transparency and inform policy priorities ahead of upcoming international climate negotiations. It highlights three concrete areas in which immediate government action is needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius: 1) phasing out support for fossil fuels, 2) putting a price on emissions, and 3) encouraging climate risk disclosure.
The report says all G20 member states continue to provide substantial financial support for fossil-fuel production and consumption, which over a four year period from 2015 – 2019 has amounted to over $3 Trillion despite agreeing in 2009 to phase out “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies.
Antha Williams, the environment lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies, has stated that “On paper, global leaders and governments are recognising the urgency of the climate challenge and the G20 countries have all made ambitious commitments to scale down fossil fuel development and transition to a low-carbon economy. But, in reality, the action taken by these countries up until this point is a far cry from what is needed. As a host of climate emergencies intensify around the world, the continued development of fossil fuel infrastructure is nothing short of reckless. We need more than just words – we need action.”
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