NEWS SUMMARY, RECAST AND ANALYSIS
BY MATHEW CARR
JULY 23-28, 2021 (LONDON): After rich countries damaged everyone’s climate for decades by subsidizing the production of fossil fuels while pretending to care about climate change, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia have resisted a G20 deal on dismantling the subsidies, the Financial Times reported again on Monday.
The sticking points were a target date of 2025 for the complete phase out of fossil fuel subsidies, which some developed countries had sought, and fixing dates to end the international financing of coal projects and to phase out coal power, Reuters reported (see Link 2 Reuters below).
The G20 published official documents dated July 27 here, confirming the areas that were failed to reach agreement. However, the documents did not mention the 2025 date.
Sticking points to be revisited Oct. 30-31 before the UN Glasgow talks:
“Two actions remained open despite a prolonged and tireless discussion:
(1) to accelerate decarbonisation in the next decade by setting a date to
phase out unabated coal.
(2) to stop international public financing of unabated coal power
generation and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies within a certain
Since the G20 has been promising to phase out fossil fuels since 2009, I’m hoping that between now and October they countries can agree a year that’s closer that 2025.
The world is meant to be cutting emissions by half by 2030, to keep within striking distance of the implied Paris targets..
Earlier: Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia were among countries continuing to resist attempts by the Italian presidency of the G20 to “beef up” the climate language in statements, Reuters reported earlier, citing officials.
Environment and energy ministers from the Group of 20 nations made little progress in Italy on Thursday on how to reach climate goals, officials said, with “a cluster” of countries resisting firm commitments, according to the news service (see link below).
In his address to the G20, seen by Reuters, Argentina’s Environment Minister Juan Cabandie called for a “debt swap” whereby a portion of the debt of developing countries be forgiven so that they can fund their ecological transition, Reuters said.
Rich countries are most to blame for the climate crisis because they’ve emitted most of the heat-trapping gas. Nations with huge populations and relatively less wealth have been calling for global solutions that recognize the inherent unfairness of the situation. The UN is meeting at COP26 (Conference of the Parties meeting number 26) in November in Glasgow to agree a rulebook of the Paris climate deal.
Staffers at the International Monetary Fund have suggested minimum carbon prices at the G20 level, which could be lower for emerging countries with less blame on a per person basis. The G20 is making some progress getting agreement on minimum corporation tax rates to boost government coffers in the wake of the global pandemic.
Negotiations continued through July 27 apparently, with a further communique expected last weekend failing to have arrived as of Monday, eventually appearing dated July 27 (although it’s not entirely clear). The U.K., which is leading UN climate talks, held further meetings in London through Monday.
Speaking to the Environment and Energy Ministers of G20 nations in Naples, Italy, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa called on countries to provide leadership to achieve the central goal of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which is to hold the global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
This is in order to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, which include ever more frequent and severe droughts, floods and fires of the type the world is witnessing right now, the UNFCCC said.
The UN’s top climate change official said the G20 was founded in response to the 2008 financial crisis, with the goal of achieving global economic stability and sustainable growth.
A stable climate is crucial to economic stability.
“The G20 accounts for 80 per cent of all global emissions. There is no path to 1.5C without the G20,” Espinosa said.
Here is a snip from the Financial Times story from Friday: Fraught G20 meeting on new climate targets highlights divisions https://www.ft.com/content/356115c3-321c-464f-8e6a-caa295f0db0f
The UNFCCC had called for updated pledges by this month from countries so it can update its synthesis report and improve data available at COP26 in Glasgow.
Delayed updates to “pledges” will make COP26 less likely to succeed.
(Adds new Reuters, document links, FT splash, July 22 conclusions below, updated earlier with FT and with UNFCCC)
This environmental text was produced July 22:
The conclusions made me hopeful:
“Mindful of the interconnectedness of poverty, health, economic and environmental
challenges, we commit to a just and equitable transition to sustainable economies, leaving
no one behind, whilst taking into account the different levels of development and capacity of
countries. We encourage the provision of financial, technological and capacity building
support to developing countries especially to the least developed countries, making the best
use of existing governance frameworks and working to identify new and innovative
solutions. Recalling the principles of the Rio Declaration and recognizing that we face
different challenges, we will strengthen our international cooperation towards sustainable
(But my hope was misguided.)
Link 1 Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/wheres-money-climate-activists-ask-g20-talks-drift-2021-07-22/
Link 2 Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/strained-g20-climate-talks-could-yet-deliver-progress-coal-2021-07-26/
Carbon price floor plan: http://carrzee.org/2021/06/18/g20-carbon-price-floor-could-help-alleviate-poverty-imf/
Higher Carbon Price Cuts Emissions faster
July 22’s Hopeful Conclusion