G-20 Climate Talks Stall Ahead of Rome Leaders’ Summit
(Bloomberg) -- The world’s major economies are gridlocked in their efforts to agree concrete steps to tackle climate change just two weeks before a crucial summit in Rome, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Preparatory talks between G-20 officials this week failed to end in an agreement to reduce coal subsidies and curb methane emissions. There wasn’t even a consensus on striving toward net-zero emissions and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels, the people said, asking not to be named discussing confidential deliberations.
The G-20 summit will take place immediately before crunch climate change talks, known as COP26, where leaders hope to unveil a big-sounding agreement. Earlier this week, COP26 President Alok Sharma, said the Rome summit would be a “make or break” moment for ensuring the world avoids climate catastrophe.
Negotiators, who are tasked with preparing the final communique of the G-20 summit on Oct. 30-31, even walked back some conclusions agreed by energy and environment ministers before the summer during this week’s talks. One person described the negotiating round as a disaster.
It’s now up to leaders to show political will, the person said, after an earlier meeting between energy ministers in July ended in a failure to make any progress on coal.
China and India, two of the world’s biggest emitters and largest coal users, have failed to submit updated climate pledges to the United Nations, and China’s President Xi Jinping won’t be attending either the G-20 or COP26 summit in Glasgow in November, pushing any deal further out of reach.
However, the stalling could be just a negotiating technique, the people said, and a breakthrough could be reached in coming weeks. Countries such as Russia, Australia and Saudi Arabia have been gradually becoming more constructive, according to one of the people.
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