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No agreement on global temperature target among G20 energy-environment ministers

Christian Fernsby |
Energy and environment ministers of the G20 group closed a two-day meeting with a 58-article final communique on Friday, but without an agreement on a specific commitment related to global temperature target, the G20 Italian presidency said.

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At the end of the summit held in the southern city of Naples, Italy's Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said the G20 group - which represents the 20 countries with the largest economies in the world - was unable to find a wording related to the climate change commitment that could satisfy everyone.

Therefore, of 60 issues related to climate, energy, and environmental protection discussed by the ministers, two were left out from the communique and would be referred to the G20 head of state and government summit later this year.

The most critical point concerned the commitment set by the Paris Agreement to hold global temperature rise to "below 2 degrees Celsius" in the second half of this century to fight climate change, Cingolani told a press conference broadcast live.

Some of the G20 countries would rather push further and commit to remaining within 1.5 degrees Celsius of temperature increase, which would imply accelerating the decarbonization process.

"Many countries are reflecting on speeding up (on this goal) during the current decade," Cingolani said.

"Some other countries' economies however still rely on heavy carbon industries and the idea of accelerating the phasing out 2025 and all the other phasing outs on fossil sources is extremely difficult for them."

"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," he explained.

Addressing reporters, Cingolani pointed out that - despite the lack of agreement on the temperature issue - no country at the meeting put the climate change target in doubt.

"The obstacle lies in the timeline (of decarbonization) ... Yet, I can assure you that no country has put the Paris Agreement into question," Cingolani stressed.

After their first day of talks on Thursday, the G20 ministers had unveiled a seven-page communique on the environment only, which addressed various topics including intensifying actions to preserve and restore oceans and seas, promoting sustainable use of water, and renewing efforts on marine plastic litter.


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