G20 agrees to limit global warming to 1.5 C

Rome, Oct 31 (EFE).- World leaders meeting at the G20 summit in Rome on Sunday agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels after a night of lengthy negotiations.

In July, the group’s ministers of energy and environment had failed to set a common goal due to refusals by China and India, two of the world’s biggest polluters.

The main goal of the Rome summit was to get the world’s 19 most advanced economies as well as the European Union to agree to a unified stance in the global fight against climate change ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, which began Sunday.

The G20, which accounts for 80% of the world’s wealth and 60% of the world’s population – as well as an estimated 80% of global emissions – has agreed on investments worth 100 billion euros ($115.5 billion) so that developing countries can implement policies that will enable them to respect their environmental commitments.

Before the agreement was announced, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi inaugurated Sunday’s plenary session with an urgent call: “We must act quickly to avoid disastrous consequences”.

“Some of us are asking why they are taking our 2-degree climate target to 1.5. Why? Because the science says so,” Draghi said.

Draghi called on his partners to implement an ecological transition to reduce emissions: “We cannot delay any longer. This transition requires significant effort and governments must be prepared to help their citizens and businesses,” he said.

The Paris agreement signed in 2015 set the goal of keeping global warming “well below” 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, while urging countries to strive to limit it to 1.5 degrees.

The summit, hosted by current G20 president Italy, was being held ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, with scientists warning of major future environmental disasters unless urgent action is taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The second day of the summit got underway with G20 leaders – except Chinese president Xi Jinping or his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who took part in the summit remotely – tossing coins into the iconic Trevi fountain in central Rome for a group photo. EFE

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