NAPLES (Reuters):  Energy and environment ministers from the Group of 20 rich nations have failed to agree on the wording of key climate change commitments in their final communique, Italy’s Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani said on Friday.

The G20 meeting was seen as a decisive step ahead of United Nations climate talks, known as COP 26, which take place in 100 days’ time in Glasgow in November.

The failure to agree common language ahead of that gathering is likely to be seen as a setback to hopes of securing a meaningful accord in Scotland.

Cingolani told reporters that the ministers could not agree on two disputed issues which would now have to be discussed at a G20 summit in Rome in October.

“Commitments made today lack substance and ambition. It is now up to G20 heads of state and government to discard this document at the October leaders’ summit,” said online activist network Avaaz.

Italy holds the rotating presidency of the G20, and Cingolani, as chairman of the two-day gathering, said negotiations with China, Russia and India had proved especially tough.

Cingolani said that in the end China and India had declined to sign the two contested points.

One of these was phasing out coal power, which most countries wanted to achieve by 2025 but some said would be impossible for them.

The other concerned the wording surrounding a 1.5-2 degree Celsius limit on global temperature increases that was set by the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Average global temperatures have already risen by more than 1 degree compared to the pre-industrial baseline used by scientists and are on track to exceed the 1.5-2 degree ceiling.

“Some countries wanted to go faster than what was agreed in Paris and to aim to cap temperatures at 1.5 degrees within a decade, but others, with more carbon based economies, said let’s just stick to what was agreed in Paris,” Cingolani said.

The final communique, which had been due to be published on Friday, would probably not now be released until Saturday, he added.

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July 24, 2021