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G20 fails to agree on climate goals in communique

July 24, 2021

By Paul Homewood



Latest news from G20:



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.

Ahead of COP 26, environmental activists had hoped that the G20 gathering would lead to a strengthening of climate targets, new commitments on climate financing, and an increase in countries committing to net zero emissions by 2050.

"The G20 is failing to deliver. Italy’s G20 tagline is ‘People, Planet, Prosperity’, but today the G20 is delivering ‘Pollution, Poverty and Paralysis," said Avaaz.

Cingolani said the G20 had made no new financial commitments, but added that Italy would increase its own climate financing for underdeveloped countries.


Clearly China, Russia and India were never going to commit to give a date for phasing out coal power, as they know their economies depend on it. And while ever Germany carries on using coal, which they plan to until 2038, they will carry on saying get lost.

But more significant is the second sticking point – “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”

As we know, the Paris Agreement did nothing whatsoever to cut global emissions. While the 1.5C figure was “agreed” as the objective, the Agreement contained nothing to actually achieving it. On the contrary, developing nations were allowed to carry on increasing emissions, more than cancelling out emissions cuts by developed countries.

What Cingolani’s statement seems to indicate is that many of the G20 countries, even including developed ones, are refusing to improve on their Paris Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs. These are the pledges made at Paris, detailing and quantifying emissions cuts up to 2030.

With money still a sticking point, any real breakthrough at Glasgow is as far away as ever.


  1. July 24, 2021 6:30 pm

    If the implications of implementing such a policy weren’t so dire, it would be hilarious. They imagine that by reducing a few CO2 emissions within a few years., they can “cap” global temperatures at 1.5c above mid. 19th C levels. Imagine their puzzled bemusement if they get their way and it doesn’t happen.

    • Broadlands permalink
      July 24, 2021 6:58 pm

      David…Emission reductions, even to zero, will not lower global temperatures. It isn’t going to happen simply because we cannot lower emissions instantly. It will take time and optimistically, by the time this zero level was reached the atmospheric burden could be as high as 500 ppm. Net-zero industrial negative emissions can’t take enough CO2 from the atmosphere for the climate to even notice. The whole Paris plan is an unfortunate and very expensive misunderstanding of real world reality.

      • David Wojick permalink
        July 25, 2021 12:19 am

        500 ppm would be a blessing not a burden. CO2 is the global food supply. More is better.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        July 25, 2021 7:49 am

        According to the IPCC’s 2018 ‘special report’, by 2030 emissions must be cut to 45% below the 2010 global total – i.e. to 18.7 Gt – if the 1.5ºC target is to be achieved. Emissions were last at 18.7 Gt in 1977 when the world’s population was 4.2 billion. The UN expects the 2030 population to be twice that.

        That reduction doesn’t seem very likely.

      • Russ Wood permalink
        July 25, 2021 11:04 am

        Oh, we’re going to have a temperature reduction. It just isn’t going to have anything to do with fossil fuels – except that we’ll need a lot of them to keep warm as we enter a solar minimum.

  2. GeoffB permalink
    July 24, 2021 6:35 pm

    Here’s hoping…COP 26 cancelled due to power cuts,

    • Joe Public permalink
      July 24, 2021 7:32 pm

      I’d prefer COP26 to proceed without any fossil-fuel generation, and with resultant power cuts!

      At 12:30pm last Thursday (22nd) Britain’s fleet of 25,000 MW of metered wind capacity generated at just 35MW.

      • Nicholas Lewis permalink
        July 24, 2021 9:03 pm

        Oh and I was about to gloat about only 1.75GW generating as I type this. That is absolutely dire. Just as well our paltry coal capacity is still there doing what it can to keep they system above the waterline.

      • John Hultquist permalink
        July 25, 2021 5:11 am

        What about wood pellets?
        Relevant to comments by: David W. and Nicholas L.

  3. markl permalink
    July 24, 2021 7:27 pm

    Everyone wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die.

  4. July 24, 2021 8:33 pm

    All sounds yawn-makingly familiar. The notion of ‘capping temperatures’ just shows their utter ignorance about Earth’s climate, exceeded only by their self-importance.

  5. Tim Leeney permalink
    July 24, 2021 9:12 pm

    1 ppm CO2 in atmosphere is about 7.8 billion (thousand million) tons. CCS could be quite a problem, especially if energy is needed for the process. Personally, I hope it snows on the COP 26 delegates, ideally preventing their private jets from taking off.

  6. MrGrimNasty permalink
    July 24, 2021 9:16 pm

    Why do we even need to continue the COP rubbish, every single meeting of ‘leaders’ all the time seems to be discussing and trying to agree little else?

    • Nicholas Lewis permalink
      July 25, 2021 11:01 am

      Oh i don’t know they are doing there bit by all travelling on their jet fuelled planes

    • dennisambler permalink
      July 26, 2021 1:53 pm

      They have their constant meetings all year without too much fanfare and then the annual Cops and Robbers is the media extravaganza. I can’t wait for for the MSM coverage, plus there will be the ego conflict between Boris and Nicola, as to who can stand on the podium and make the most futile promises.

  7. Alan Haile permalink
    July 24, 2021 9:33 pm

    I think it is hilarious that they argue about whether they should keep temps at 1.5 over or 2.0 over. Do they really think they can control nature? Cupid stunts.

  8. Gamecock permalink
    July 25, 2021 2:59 am

    ‘Energy and environment ministers from the Group of 20 rich nations’

    The United States of America owes $28,500,000,000,000. Plus way more in unfunded commitments. Calling us ‘rich’ is hilarious.

  9. John Hultquist permalink
    July 25, 2021 5:08 am

    Naples, Rome, Glasgow . . . and then a series of “climate weeks” in between and after.
    With regular pleadings for U. S. taxpayers to send money.

  10. July 25, 2021 8:09 am

    About the Paris “Agreement”.

    • Robin Guenier permalink
      July 25, 2021 11:47 am

      Thanks – that’s an excellent analysis. For a (slightly) different perspective you might like this:

      Climate Play-Acting
      The conference in Paris accomplished nothing much

      Note however that Cass is wrong to say that ‘The developed world agreed to transfer hundreds of billions of dollars to poor countries…’ The Agreement doesn’t mention any such transfer.

      • July 25, 2021 11:51 am

        Very interesting read. Thank you very much. Btw your name is very familiar to me but I can’t figure out why. Getting old!

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        July 25, 2021 12:11 pm

        Perhaps this will help to jog your memory:

        Here’s another good article by Oren Cass, this time pre-Paris:

      • July 25, 2021 11:04 pm

        Thank you. I remember now. Great to be in contact.

      • John Cullen permalink
        July 28, 2021 5:59 pm

        Hello Robin, clearly the IPCC seniors believe that there is some sort of quid pro quo (e.g. $100b/year) even if it is not spelled out explicitly in the Paris Agreement documentation. See, for example, Christiana Figueres:-
        “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 – you choose the number. It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation.”

        So I am rather confused. Please can you explain a little more? Thank you.


      • Robin Guenier permalink
        July 28, 2021 6:56 pm

        John: you might find it helpful to see my detailed comment (the penultimate comment) here:

        The alleged 2009 promise (the Copenhagen Accord) is also said to have been confirmed by the ‘Cancun Agreements’ (COP16 in 2010) and the Paris Agreement (COP21). But:

        1. But all that happened at Cancun was that the the Parties ‘recognised’ the $100 billion p.a. goal – and again (see the comment to which I refer above) dis so ‘in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation’: (Paragraph 98). In any case, like the Copenhagen Accord, the ‘Cancun Agreements’ are not legally binding.

        2. The Paris Agreement doesn’t even mention a $100 billion p.a. goal: Note how Article 9.1 of the Paris Agreement refers only to the obligation to provide financial support:

        Developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention.

        No reference there to $100 billion per annum – nor anywhere else in Article 9. Nor elsewhere in the Paris Agreement.

      • John Cullen permalink
        July 29, 2021 9:42 am

        Robin, thank you for this clarification. I thus understand that there is no legal requirement for financial support (yet) arising from the COP process, but there is plenty of expectation/moral pressure from interested parties.


    • dennisambler permalink
      July 26, 2021 2:18 pm

      “agreement is credited with having solved the ozone depletion crisis.” There was no ozone depletion crisis any more than there is a climate crisis:

      31 August 2010 – “Another Day Another Dollar – CFC’s And The UN”

      “The CFC story is a parallel for the CO2 story and was another US EPA “cause celebre”. Claims of dramatic changes to the atmosphere were made; time was running out, the world was in danger and it could only be saved by “Global Action”.

      So did the Montreal Protocol achieve anything to solve another none problem?

      Seems not:

      “The annually occurring ozone hole over the Antarctic is one of the largest and deepest in recent years. Analyses show that the hole has reached its maximum size.

      The 2020 ozone hole grew rapidly from mid-August and peaked at around 24 million square kilometres in early October. It now covers 23 million km2, above average for the last decade and spreading over most of the Antarctic continent.

      NASA’s Ozone Watch reports a lowest value of 95 Dobson Units (DU) recorded on October 1. The BAS web site reported in 2009/10: “The lowest daily value measured was 107 DU on October 1.”

      In spring of 1958 at the French Antarctic Observatory at Dumont d’Urville [opposite side of the South Pole from Halley Bay], Rigaud and Leroy [quoted in Annales Geophysicae (November, 1990)] reported atmospheric ozone levels as low as 110 DU.

      WMO again: “The large ozone hole in 2020 has been driven by a strong, stable and cold polar vortex, which kept the temperature of the ozone layer over Antarctica consistently cold. During the Southern Hemisphere spring season (August – October) the ozone hole over the Antarctic increases in size, reaching a maximum between mid-September and mid-October.

      When temperatures high up in the atmosphere (stratosphere) start to rise in late Southern Hemisphere spring, ozone depletion slows, the polar vortex weakens and finally breaks down, and by the end of December ozone levels have returned to normal.”

      So it’s an annual cycle…

  11. John Halstead permalink
    July 25, 2021 10:20 am

    Seems to me these COP meetings are just a talking shop, they are suspiciously like a jolly for self important politicians virtue signalling to boost their popularity.

  12. Jack Broughton permalink
    July 25, 2021 9:21 pm

    What remains worrying is the blind belief that CO2 is the only significant driver of the climate. It appears to be impossible to make them consider the science really. The ongoing damage is increasing daily.

  13. Robin Guenier permalink
    July 26, 2021 1:19 pm

    The Observer had the story yesterday:

    Plans of four G20 states are threat to global climate pledge, warn scientists

    They say China, Russia, Brazil and Australia all have energy policies associated with 5C rises in atmospheric temperatures, a heating hike that would bring devastation to much of the planet.

    Only these four? Does that mean that the scientists think Argentina, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey have adequate policies? Perhaps they should have another look at the data.

  14. July 26, 2021 2:17 pm

    There has been no scientific prove that there is a correlation between Co2 and atmospheric temperature, no matter what the Al Gores, et el, espouse.
    Global temperatures have not risen for the past 7 years, we are 2 years into a solar cooling period.
    Over the past 10 years the temperaturw has risen by 0.1 dgree every year.
    How wonderful the UN and associated groups gravy train has been for the past 50 years, along with all the offshoot industries linked to it, printers, translators, event organisers, hotels, English language manipulators, airlines, private jet manufacturers, caterers, the list goes on.
    Perhaps this “industry” should be warned about all the hot air that they are releasing into the atmosphere and contributating to their so called problem.
    Never have so many been fooled by so few, my apologies to Mr Churchill.

  15. July 26, 2021 3:02 pm

    Brilliant! And totally agree. The ozone depletion thing was an imagined crisis that was simply declared to have been solved and the sheeple bought into it hook line and sinker.

    • July 26, 2021 3:04 pm

      This was a reply to the brilliant comment by dennis ambler

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