Oct 31, 2021 - Energy & Environment

G20 leaders reach compromise commitment on carbon neutrality, coal financing

rime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French president Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
From left to right, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Oct. 31. Photo: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

Group of 20 leaders on Sunday wrapped up a two-day summit by announcing a compromise has been achieved that sets a target of reaching carbon neutrality "by or around mid-century."

Driving the news: The joint commitment tees up the United Nations climate conference, which begins Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' climate reporter Andrew Freedman: The reported outcome is not what the U.S. and United Kingdom were advocating, which is a coal phaseout date. However, some observers noted it was a step in a positive direction on the need for greater emissions cuts.

  • E3G chief executive and co-founder Nick Mabey said: “After a tough fight that went all the way to leaders we expect the G20 to have confirmed the need for all countries to increase ambition this decade consistent with keeping 1.5C within reach. COP26 now needs to turn this political promise into an agreed process.”
  • "I am cautiously hopeful in what I am hearing from Rome," said COP26 president Alok Sharma at a press conference in Glasgow. He noted he is awaiting the final outcome.

Details: The world leaders also agreed to end public financing for coal-fired power generation abroad, but no target was set for phasing out coal domestically.

  • G20 leaders also searched for a reasonable solution on reducing gas emissions and providing aid to low-income countries dealing with the brunt of climate change, per the Associated Press.
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